Monday, February 05, 2018

Governor frets about coverage of big races; says papers have 'a lot fewer assets' and voters have dubious sources

Tennessee's Bill Haslam (AP photo)
The outgoing Republican governor of Tennessee told the state's newspapers Thursday that he worries the race to succeed him, and other big elections in the Volunteer State this year, "won't be covered in the detail they traditionally have" because "there are a lot fewer assets in your world to work with."

"This is going to be a really important political year," Gov. Bill Haslam said at the Tennessee Press Association convention in Nashville. "This is a real governor’s race. We have a Senate race that’s really important, not just for the state, but the country, right? And a number of congressional seats in play. . . . Not just a free press, but an active and engaged press, matters." He said that is even more important than usual because "You're going to see unheard of outside money pouring into the state."

Andy Sher reports for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, "The governor said that 'as a candidate, you don't always like' the news coverage, but he believes it ultimately makes 'the process of running so much better. And the media is really an incredible part of the process.' Haslam, who noted he reads five print newspapers daily, also voiced concerns about what he hears from people he talks to, particularly those under age 35, about where they're getting their news."

"Haslam said when he asks most people where they get their news, many name dubious sources without editors," Jordan Buie reports for the Nashville Tennesseean. The governor said, "The answers are really discouraging to me." After his term as governor, "Haslam said he would be interested in doing 'something that helps people understand their state and local news in a better way,' and to facilitate an unbiased national conversation. "I think there is something interesting there," he said.

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