As everybody knows, Elizabeth Warren is on a “listening tour” around the state. She’s visited numerous communities in eastern, central, and western MA – you can read first-hand reports of several of the visits right here at BMG. In each of them, she is speaking to invited audiences to gauge the response of activists and voters to what her message would be, should she declare herself to be a candidate.
What she is not doing, so far, is talking to reporters – why, she didn’t even let them in on how seriously she was considering a Senate run before she posted here on BMG, to the apparent consternation of some of our traditional media friends. And that has the traditional media seeing red. Here’s the latest salvo, from New Bedford Standard-Times columnist Jack Spillane.
Elizabeth Warren another Coakley?
From Elizabeth Warren’s fragile performance in New Bedford Wednesday, I couldn’t help wondering if she’s going to be another Martha Coakley….
She was afraid to even make eye contact with a reporter wanting simply to ask her questions before and after her “listening tour” with area liberals. Rushing past like a typical politician to the safe haven of a friendly audience, Warren seemed like a frightened sparrow….
The progressive community can convince themselves from now until November 2012 that Elizabeth Warren is the perfect candidate, the little woman who stood up to the big banks for the consumers.
The problem is they have to convince independent voters and the delicate woman who appeared at the United Way building in downtown New Bedford on Wednesday won’t be able to do that….
Warren performed like a hot house flower on Wednesday. If she can’t even deal with the New Bedford press, it’s hard to imagine how she’s going to deal with the Boston, and even national media, that a Brown-Warren race will attract.
The Democrats, it seems to this writer, need a candidate far less fragile, and far more able to deal successfully with the unexpected.
Well well well. Somebody’s knickers are all in a twist, aren’t they now? Spillane isn’t much worried about what Warren actually said (nor could he be, since apparently he couldn’t get himself invited inside). What seems to upset him the most is that, whatever she said, she didn’t say it to him; rather, she said it to the people who attended the event.
This seems to me a classic case of Spurned Gatekeeper Syndrome.
It used to be that when a candidate, or a potential candidate, had something to say, he or she would say it to a bunch of professional reporters, and the reporters would then trundle off to the newsroom and write up a story. That was great for reporters, who got access to “important” people, and who controlled how to present them to the public. They were the gatekeepers, the chosen few who got to decide what the rest of us “needed to know.”
That model is dead, or at least dying. And Elizabeth Warren seems to realize that, hence her decisions to signal a Senate run on a site like BMG rather than via the traditional media, and also to hold a series of events to which traditional media are not invited, while not yet addressing the reporters. It’s unfortunate, but I suppose to be expected, that in some cases the traditional media will not react well to this.
Obviously, should Warren declare that she’s in, she will have to talk to reporters. She knows that – she is no stranger to dealing with the media (see below). For now, though, she’s apparently much more interested in what actual voters, rather than reporters, think of what she would have to say on the campaign trail. For someone gauging a Senate run, that doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.
One more thing: check out the language that Spillane uses. “Fragile … afraid … frightened sparrow … the little woman … the delicate woman … a hot house flower … fragile.” If I didn’t know better, I might think that there’s some evidence of gender stereotyping going on there. Fortunately, though, we know that never happens in the traditional media.
In any event, the notions that Elizabeth Warren is (a) afraid to talk to the media, including potentially hostile media, and (b) some sort of “fragile,” “delicate” “hot house flower,” are patently ridiculous, as a cursory examination of her recent media appearances confirms. Here are two I found from appearances on Fox News, not generally considered a big fan of what she was trying to do while in DC. I’m sure there are dozens more out there.