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Sun rises in the East–Republic Pounds Montgomery

Posted by on | August 12, 2019 | Comments Off

Here are three things that should not surprise you:  The sun rose in the east.  Phoenix is going to be hot and the Republic is pounding on Bill Montgomery A1 above the fold today. 

Today’s story uses a weak “hook.”  Someone in the interview compared Montgomery’s trajectory to Sandra Day O’Connor’s path to the court and O’Connor’s son called to complain.  The fact that O’Connor’s son complained is not worthy of a story, it’s simply a hook that the reporter uses so she can spice up the old story and run it again. 

 Sun rises in the East  Republic Pounds MontgomeryWhen I made that point last week, Republic reporter Maria Polletta responded that she had newer stuff in this story.  Really?  Does it take a lot of imagination to remake the same story with a little more detail and a couple more interviews?  Is the new Lion King better than the old Lion King?

The story is also an example of lazy schoolyard bully reporting.  “Hey, there’s Billy, let’s beat him up again.”  When reporters find someone who is vulnerable, it is fun to write story after story about them–think Tim Jeffries, Susan Bitter Smith or Jeff Dial.    Montgomery fits this category.  Again, there is no triggering event for today’s story.  The weak hook from O’Connor is simply an excuse to reprint or rewrite the old story.

Oh and there’s one other thing. 

They got the facts in the hook wrong.

Here’s Scott O’Connor’s complaint.  “Mom had been a trial court judge for three years and an appellate court judge for three years between serving as a legislator and her Supreme Court appointment,”

Is President Trump appointing Bill Montgomery to the US Supreme Court?   Maria Polletta should have pointed out to Scott O’Connor that his mom went straight from an elected office to a state court.  That’s the point that was being made in committee.  Montgomery would also be going straight from an elected office to a state court.  The fact that O’Connor then went straight from six years on Arizona Courts to the US Supreme Court is irrelevant to the discussion about Montgomery*. 

The O’Connor phone call provided Maria Polletta with a weak excuse to spice up the old story and re-run it. She should have recognized that the phone call wasn’t enough to be a story.  It was simply a hook.  She should have recognized that the hook was week.  And she certainly should have recognized that the hook was wrong. 

By the way, where was her editor, Wyatt Buchanan, while this mess was going down?

*Polletta also erred by stating that O’Connor was appointed to the Superior Court.  She was elected to that position. 

 

 

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