(Note: “The Power of the Jump”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s use of its back pages to hide information that its editors don’t want you to see.)
Shocking news: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to get voters out to the polls who might support his initiatives — and he doesn’t much care about other voters! And, apparently, his opponents have much more confidence in their positions, and are therefore happy to target their message to anyone who will listen. (Actually, that last bit is not true, but make sure to whisper it, while we shout the nasty stuff about Arnold.)
This startling revelation can be found in a story on the front page of today’s California section titled Gov. Aims to Get Out Vote Selectively. I don’t make the headlines up, folks — I just report ’em.
The “deck” headline reads: “With Schwarzenegger’s initiatives lagging in polls, he hopes the state’s Democratic majority and opponents in the GOP stay home.” The story opens this way:
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered next week’s special election to take his agenda to “the people,” but his campaign strategy relies on relatively few people showing up next Tuesday and large segments of voters staying home.
Shocking behavior, this. Sounds like he’s using campaign resources to suppress the vote! Wait ’till you find out the measures he’s taking to make sure opponents stay home! What will it be? Sending representatives to black churches to encourage them to vote in the special election on November “9th”? (The election is on November 8th.) Arnie riding through the streets of San Francisco with a bullhorn shouting: “Stay home, Kaleefornians! Stay hoooooooommee!”?
. . . Schwarzenegger’s campaign has put many of its resources into just motivating loyal Republicans.
So . . . he’s targeting supporters . . . but that sounds like standard practice for a politician, does it? Where’s the bit about suppressing the rest of the vote?
You can read the entire article, and you won’t find it. All he’s doing is targeting his resources towards loyal Republicans, who, he judges, are the most likely to support his initiatives:
In recent weeks, Schwarzenegger has campaigned heavily in conservative areas such as Fresno, San Diego, Redding, Orange County and Sacramento. Today he is scheduled to participate in conservative talk radio programs and campaign in Republican-dominated areas — San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield and Palm Springs.
His TV advertising also has been sectarian: Except on some cable stations, he has declined to run ads in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is heavily Democratic.
That nutty Arnold, targeting his supporters!
The question I asked myself, as I turned from Page B1 back to Page B7, was this: aren’t his opponents doing the same thing? I mean, I guess not . . . after all, the headline, deck headline, and lede all emphasize that Schwarzenegger is targeting voters selectively.
Imagine my surprise to see this, all the way down in paragraph 22:
Schwarzenegger is not the only one worried about who will turn out next Tuesday.
You don’t say!
The “no” message from Schwarzenegger’s opponents in unions and the Democratic Party could boomerang on them when they need as many of their constituents as possible to show up.
Their constituents? They need as many of “their constituents” as possible to show up? But what about the public at large? What about the greater good? Don’t the Democrats and unions care about them?
[Democrat and union consultant Phil] Giarrizzo says that the main anti-Schwarzenegger group, a labor coalition called Alliance for a Better California, has reached 1 million households with its message to encourage voters.
[Said in best Dr. Evil voice:] One milllllllllllion households!
[Low, impressed whistle]
And just how many voters is ol’ “selective Schwarzenegger” targeting?
[GOP consulting firm] TargetPoint research directed the Schwarzenegger campaign on where to send campaign mailings, which went to 5 million voters considered most likely to support his positions. The party also helped coordinate campaign material for 50,000 overseas voters, including the military, hoping that will help the governor.
So: the other side has targeted one million households, and vote-suppressing Arnie has targeted 5 million voters.
Oh, and he is broadening his message:
As the campaign enters its final days, the governor has attempted to broaden his message. He has launched a new statewide television ad in which he asks Californians to “give me the tools to do the job you elected me to do.” And he has scheduled several TV appearances in markets that allow him to reach a large segment of voters.
To sum up: Arnold has targeted more voters than his opponents, and in the critical final days of his campaign, he’s aiming to target an even larger segment of voters. So, naturally, the L.A. Times runs an article suggesting the exact opposite.
This is ridiculous. In any political campaign, political operatives will seek to get voters to the polls who are going to support their issues. Both sides in this campaign are doing the same thing. But if you ran a story titled “Both Sides Seek to Target Own Supporters” — well, that would just sound silly, wouldn’t it? So let’s run a Page B1 story making it sound like Arnold is the only guy trying to do that.
Because, who knows? Mebbe we can get more Democrats to the polls that way!
Not that the editors of the L.A. Times would want that to happen.
P.S. As in previous articles about the propositions, The Times today claims in the deck headline that polls show all of the measures headed for defeat:
With Schwarzenegger’s initiatives lagging in polls, he hopes the state’s Democratic majority and opponents in the GOP stay home.
But, based on posts by Daniel Weintraub, Dafydd ab Hugh has been reporting lately (most recently here) that the poll results are mixed. You never read that in The Times either.