The last-minute voter

Joe Loveland at The Same Rowdy Crowd takes a “glass half full ” look at the nearly-concluded gubernatorial campaign and finds there’s a lot to like about it.

MPR’s Tom Scheck is probably too modest to point out props sent his way, so News Cut will do it for him.

COVERAGE OF NUMBERS. Not only did the candidates discuss the budget in detail, but reporters actually analyzed their proposals, repeatedly and well. They could have easily chose to cover hot button issues and candidate sideshows instead, but Tom Scheck at MPR. Eric Black at Minnpost and a few others respected the intelligence of their audiences enough to do deep fiscal dives.

MEDIA FACT-CHECKING. MPR, WCCO-TV, Minnpost, and KSTP-TV did a solid job analyzing candidates ads and utterances for accuracy. The non-analytical “he said, she said” style of political coverage was still the default approach, and the fact checkers’ performance was often too timid. But the presence of the fact checkers does help improve the quality of Minnesotans’ democratic experience.

Prevailing wisdom says many people don’t pay attention to a lot of this coverage until the last days of the campaign. And, sure enough, we notice today that MPR’s Select A Candidate is the most popular page on our Web site right now. When this was originally designed, the intent was to use it as a carrot (a “game” vibe) to get people to the stick (the accumulated substantial coverage). It’s not entirely clear, yet, to what extent the people who are just getting around to paying attention to the candidates are digging deeply into the coverage provided so far.

If that’s you, perhaps you could answer the question.

  • Ross

    Forgive me if this already exists, but maybe there should be something on the “Select a Candidate” pages that also clearly links to or shows the number of times a Candidate has been evaluated by the fact-checking service. Voters need to be confronted with more than just who they agree with here or there; they should also get a sense of whether those stances are feasible (that is, if the proposals made to accompany the stances are truthful and realistic).