Covering politics is too often about the attack that isn’t true and the advertising that is misleading.
Granted, holding candidates and their campaigns accountable for their rhetoric is important, but it is also exhausting and rarely leads to constructive dialogue about what the candidates plan to do to solve the incredibly complicated problems facing the country and the world.
The sad reality is the political campaigns on the congressional level are mostly about winning and scoring points by twisting facts and taking advantage of voters’ passionate beliefs on a few core issues.
Rep. Stefanik’s campaign spokesperson went so far in his attacks this summer that he said one of her opponents was bad because she had not raised much money.
I hope that we never get to the point that we base our vote for Congress on who can raise the most money. That is not what democracy is supposed to be about. Our votes are supposed to be based on ideas and solutions to problems.
It is one of the reasons we adopted a policy to no longer quote campaign spokespeople from either campaign. If any of the candidates wants to attack their opponents, we will report exactly what they say, but it serves no purpose to let some hired attack dog do it for them. We’d prefer to concentrate on the issues.
Our coalition of North Country newspapers — Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Plattsburgh Press-Republican and Watertown Daily Times — continues to share all its stories and coverage on the 21st Congressional District, but in the coming weeks we will try to focus more on producing weekly in-depth pieces on where the candidates stand on the issues.
We did these two years ago, dividing up different areas of concern — environment, economy, foreign policy, health care, and trade — and conducting interviews with all the candidates about their vision for the 21st Congressional District regarding those issues.
We hope these are the types of stories that will help voters evaluate the candidates and decide who to vote for.
Or they could just see who raised the most money.
A new record
Before President Trump was ever elected, I was encouraging readers to fact-check dubious stories that they found online.
That is even more important during the election year. We have done a couple fact-checks already this campaign season and hope to do more.
What was especially startling was a recent analysis from the Washington Post fact-checkers that President Trump had made 125 false or misleading statements on one day (Sept. 7) during just 120 minutes of public speaking. It was a new record and especially disturbing.
The Washington Post has been keeping a database of all his false or misleading statements since Trump became president. That binge of 125 untruths put him over 5,000 false or misleading statements during his first 600 days as president.
Just consider that for a second.
I find it frightening.