When I was a reporter, only under extraordinary circumstances would my editors permit a story about someone threatening, pondering, or otherwise indicating that they may file a lawsuit in some dispute.
After all, it’s not a story until it actually happens, right? Anyone can threaten to sue….but going to the effort & trouble of filing a suit—that’s a much smaller subset.
That proper journalistic restraint comes to mind as I reflect on the uber-silly nature of “silly season” (journalistic jargon for political campaigns) that has stricken my fair, uber-woke village of Oak Park, Illinois.
How silly? Glad you asked.
A sampling: we’ve had one candidate announce a run for office, then announce that she won’t run, after all, and…stay with me, now…then subsequently she announced (wait!! wait!!) she actually will be running. And all of that here-and-there-and-everywhere business has occurred before any signatures could be gathered on petitions in order to appear on the April 2021 ballot.
Gathering signatures, mind you, is no guarantee that anyone will file those petitions, either. Talk about much ado about…well, we don’t quite know yet, do we?
This hemming and hawing sure is one way to get your name in the news on a regular basis. It’s also a reflection of the “slow news day” that permeates this COVID era. At least, it’s been a relatively slow news cycle for one particularly short-staffed local newspaper that has breathlessly chronicled not only this candidate’s Hamlet-like agonizing, but a variety of others’ ruminations and ramblings.
As for this local Silly Season, which has over six months to go: wake me when it’s truly, actually begun.
P.S. In mid-January 2021, the above-referenced candidate (who had dropped out, then jumped back into the race) announced that she would be dropping out again–for good. Of course, consistent with recent history, it merited front-page news (again).
In political PR, visual and digestible trump the complex
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