Fenty, Gray, and who’s that other guy? That would be Leo Alexander. And, it seems like the major mainstream local newspaper, The Washington Post, is managing to keep his name out of the headlines. Now, the D.C. Wire addressed the issue on June 30, in a very condescending, unbalanced, and non-objective report. The reporter claimed that they report on the candidates who have “electoral strength [in] poll numbers and campaign finance data.” Looks like they look at Alexander as the weakest link.
Leo Alexander is fed up with this media blackout. He posted on his Facebook page the following note today:
Last Thursday 7/15, I was a guest on WPFWs DC Politics Hour show with Jonetta Rose Barras. It was a special two-hour show with me taking in-depth questions from the panel and her listeners the first hour, followed by a mud-slinging contest between the Mayor and the Chair for the last hour. It was political theatre at its worst with each character essentially arguing that the other is the most ethically unfit to serve as mayor. If you werent within earshot of the radio or someone else hadnt told you about the show, you probably didnt even know until now that I was the first guest. As far as the Washington Post is concerned, the first hour never happened even though one of their reporters was on the panel. I dont believe in coincidence when it comes to news coverage. After more than a dozen years in the broadcast news business, I have a pretty good understanding of how it works. Make no mistake about it, whats happening now in this years race for DC mayor is by design. In this town, if the Post doesnt cover you then the voters dont know you exist so its difficult to raise money this way nothing ever changes, except the names of the safe establishment candidates.
For example on June 3rd, I was invited to participate in the Cleveland Park, Foxhall and Palisades mayoral candidates forum with the aforementioned characters. The Post reported that I was, The surprise of the evening The organizers of the event even stated that their concern was which candidate, Fenty or Gray, I would hurt the most. If thats the story, that a credible new candidate for DC mayor had emerged and therefore could possibly impact the outcome of the Democratic primary, wouldnt this new development warrant a follow up? Dont the readers deserve to hear more about this surprise candidate and his progressive platform that was refreshing to some and a concern to others? Apparently not.
The reporter who covered that debate finally called our campaign office Friday 7/16, but to complain that a supporter had posted some offensive remarks on the Posts website. He wanted to know, Does she work for your campaign? I told him, No, she doesnt work for me, but she is one of my most vocal and committed volunteers. So then I said, Ive been on the campaign trail for 10 months, and the first time you or anyone else from your paper calls me is to ask me about this nonsense? And then he gave it up, You dont have any money and we equate support with money and the polls. Then I countered, Youre absolutely right, I dont have any money and I cant tell you how hard it is to raise money when the Post doesnt cover all of the candidates. Then he said, Well it isnt our responsibility to help you raise money. And then I said, No it isnt, but its your responsibility to tell the whole story thats why the readers depend on your paper. Again, silence the conversation ended with me giving him the number to reach the volunteer and him giving me his editors number. I called and left a message requesting a return call again, and not to my surprise, more silence.
In spite of the blackout from that 800 pound gorilla in this media market, I must commend the coverage we have received so far from WPFWs Jonetta and WAMUs Kojo, FOX5, NewsChannel8 and USA9, along with The Afro, The Washington Informer, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner and several of DCs bloggers. These media outlets have retained their commitment to objectivity in their coverage of the most important mayors race since the beginning of Home Rule. They recognize that even without money, this Movement for Change as our volunteers have dubbed it, has been able to penetrate the consciousness of a growing wave of disgusted potential voters who are sick and tired of the same two equally flawed career political characters. This time, DC voters have a legitimate option. They dont have to enter the voting booth Sept. 14th, close their eyes, hold their noses, and play eeny, meeny, miny, moe between the Present (Fenty) and the Past (Gray). This year, the choice can be the Future (Leo Alexander) for all Washingtonians.
The Post will more than likely continue to show the battle between Mayor and Council. Alexander may not have much money as a mayoral candidate, but he has been making sure he keeps himself in the mix of the race. Hopefully, WaPo will take his ambition into consideration next time they cover local candidates. Until then, Alexander needs to continue pushing through the media muck.