Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mapes' Loose Links

The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes is known for good political reporting. That can be seen in articles like this published last month on why Rep. Dave Hunt, House Speaker in the last legislative session, is not the Democrats' choice to repeat as their co-speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives this session.

But, every so often Mapes wanders into a sort of stream of consciousness reporting.

Just two days ago Mapes wrote that the Arizona shooting makes him wonder about an interview between Lars Larson and former Nevada senatorial candidate Sharon Angle broadcast a year ago.
"The horrible shooting in Arizona is putting new attention on an interview Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle gave Portland talk show host Lars Larson a year ago.

"Angle, who was defeated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November, said that if Congress - then dominated by Democratic majorities in both houses - kept going in the same direction, people may resort to 'Second Amendment remedies.'"
Why is a Nevada candidate's position important to Oregonians? Especially one who lost the election and who Mapes never interviewed in the first place? No disrespect to Lars Larson, but shouldn't the source for in-depth understanding of Angle's views, be Angle herself?

The connection of this with Oregon politics or the actual shooting in Arizona is never made clear. No evidence is presented that Jared Loughner ever heard of Lars Larson, let alone listened to this interview. And since Angle was a candidate in Nevada, and no Oregonian ran as an Angle-endorsed candidate, the link with Oregon politics is less than sketchy.

One guesses that Larson's broadcasting on an Oregon station and that a gun was used in Arizona were sufficient links for Mapes.

Free association of ideas is intriguing for parlor games, but not a bedrock of political analysis or reporting.

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