Wednesday, January 10, 2007

History made-local press doesn't care

Tennessee's new Lieutenant Governor is still the talk of the blogosphere, but what really got me going was the fact that when this first happened, it was not treated as a major story in the Knoxville press. Granted, there was the horrible specter of a murder that rightly should have been the top story, but Ramsey's election by the State Senate was way down the list. I watched the news on WBIR last night at six and WVLT at eleven and the history-making story was way down the list. On the six o'clock news, the newscast went through two advertizing cycles before Ramsey's election was mentioned.

"Blah blah blah blah blah...oh, we have a new Lt. Governor."

To be fair, the State Senate vote did get top billing in the News-Sentinel today.

A change of power on the Hill in Nashville should always be big news, no matter what the historical connotations just happen to be. In this case, however, it is big news because this is the first time Tennessee has had a Republican Lt. Governor who rose to power legitimately (I would seriously question the legitimacy of anyone who served during Reconstruction considering the sheer number of Tennesseans who had been citizens of the State who were denied the right to vote during that period), and the first since 1869. It is huge news, and considering that Ramsey is from East Tennessee, you would think East Tennessee media would be all over it. It just shows the twisted nature of East Tennessee's mainstream press. They know this is a Republican area, and since they don't favor the GOP (and worst of all, the conservative wing) they dismiss or downgrade any good news that happens to Republicans, especially in Nashville. This is not merely a case of being far-removed and isolated from the business of the State capital. This is 2007, not 1807, and I have access to everything that goes on in Nashville at the touch of a button or the click of a mouse.

There are those who do not, however, and the press here seems Hell-bent on keeping access from the people in an era when they themselves enjoy that access in their newsrooms. That is why blogs are becoming so important-more people have access to this medium through public access to the internet in schools and libraries. Though our reach is still relatively small, it is growing-and blogs are one of the best sources of coverage around for the General Assembly. As the mainstream press continues to fail in doing its job, I expect the influence of Tennessee's blogging community to grow.

I do think that Jason Mumpower may have known on Monday when I interviewed him that something was up with Rosalind Kurita in the Senate Speaker vote.



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