Thursday, October 6, 2011

This Week in Wagman

Post Dispatch reporter Jake Wagman has been on a roll lately, even by his already generally low standards. First he started out writing a cheap shot piece claiming that tickets to an Obama event in St. Louis were "reduced" and suggesting that organizers were "slashing prices". Wagman wrote:
Maybe President Barack Obama isn't the draw he once was in the Gateway City.
But the tickets were actually part of a promotion made available to young professionals. Wagman would have known that if he bothered to act like a reporter and check. But he didn't. And now his inaccurate story has now become part of Wingnut Gospel. (by the way, who begins a news story with the word "maybe?")

And, as I already mentioned, Wagman also wrote a dumb story about one of Russ Carnahan's staffers selling her house, writing,
...any development, however small and potentially unrelated, will be subject to political scrutiny.
I guess he was testing the limits of that theory by writing something absurdly small and completely unrelated, and of course did so without bothering to actually speak with the people in the story.

Wagman skipped the first debate between Ed Martin and Ann Wagner, leaving it to pros like Jo Mannies at the Beacon and the local Patches. (coincidentally, there was a Cardinals game that night)

Then Wagman wrote about Obama's visit. He noted a couple protesters but couldn't be bothered to find out anything about them. This is especially remarkable considering that the protesters wrote a letter to the Post-Dispatch that was published that morning! But it wasn't on the Sports Page so Wagman missed it.

And finally, today he wrote about a letter that Congressional Candidate Ed Martin's mom sent to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Yes, a real life story about Martin's mom sending a letter complaining that Christie should have endorsed Martin because Martin is from New Jersey. It seems like a legitimate article for a gossip column, but this really isn't the kind of content a political reporter at a city newspaper should be writing about. And as Fired Up Missouri points out, in the article Wagman hilariously calls his BFF Ed Martin, the former Chief of Staff for Governor Matt Blunt, an "anti-establishment" candidate.

Now, I don't suppose we should expect Post-Dispatch Political Editor Christopher Ave to do anything about this. In general, the Post-Dispatch's reporting crew does amazing work: Virginia Young, Jason Hancock, David Hunn, and Joel Courier (just to name a few that I'm familiar with) all clearly work hard at their jobs and produce great material. And even Wagman occasionally does some solid work. But why put something as important as statewide races solely in the hands of a guy who generally seems to have no interest in getting to the bottom of stories and fact-checking? It's a drag on the reputation of the paper. Or, to put it in Wagman's terms, why keep starting a guy who only hustles to first base a couple times a season?

No comments:

Post a Comment