Some politicians won’t ever criticize the news media. So you have to admire Rep. Diana DeGette for talking to me about the local media’s propensity to neglect her work, while falling over themselves to cover Rep. Tom Tancredo’s latest outrage.
I quoted DeGette briefly in my Saturday column.
And here are more of her thoughts from my interview with her July 24. “I am back here in Washington working hard on issues that my constituents care about. But I am not back here thinking hard about how I’m going to get the soundbite. And sometimes I feel like the local press would be much more interested if I picked a fight with somebody or said something outrageous than if I was just back here working hard every day trying to pass legislation that benefits my constituents and the American public.
I could be back here trying to come up with catchy sound bites or picking edgy issues. Some of the issues I pick are edgy issues but I make them into mainstream issues, like the stem cell issue-.But right now I’ve been pegged by the Whip as the Chief Deputy Whip in charge of shepherding the State Children’s Health insurance plan through the house. So I’m working with the leadership to make the SCHIP bill happen.
And it’s the same with the Energy Bill. As vice Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee I’m trying to work across the Caucus to shepherd that bill through the House as well.
I think my constituents know that.
The other problem that the local papers have is that both papers over the past few years have cut their Washington Bureaus, and I think it’s extremely hard for reporters at the local level to know what’s truly going on in Washington, especially when they are dealing with politicians. Politicians will all take credit for doing everything, and sometimes it’s hard for local reporters to sort out who’s really making a difference or working on an issue or who’s just taking credit. And I think that is really hard for local reporters-.
It is frustrating when you are working hard in a leadership role and accomplishing things but the local press won’t print it. They have to read the New York Times and Washington Post to see what I’m doing.”