The Niles (MI) Daily Star reports in Upton sponsors raise freeze, that a Michigan Republican has signed on to the bill to stop an automatic raise in 2009 for U.S. representatives. A couple of Minnesotans show up in the coverage:
The news that Upton added his name to the list of co-sponsors came late Thursday afternoon.
"Nobody is hurting more than folks in Michigan," Upton said.
"As our unemployment rate continues to rise, Michigan's families are desperate for Congress to pass a bipartisan stimulus package that will actually help our small businesses, put folks back to work, and put more money in the pockets of those who need it most," Upton said in a statement to the Star.
Neither Walz nor Peterson put out statements when they signed on as co-sponsors (Walz was an original co-sponsor on January 6 and Peterson followed a little over a week later) and this reticence didn't exactly cause the district press to trumpet the news when it was timely.
Nope: blame the bloggers for this story in Minnesota: the Strib picked up on the news two weeks after both Bluestem Prairie (Walz) and the Minnesota Independent (Peterson) noted on January 14 that the Minnesota representatives had become co-sponsors. We didn't exactly see hordes of headlines in First district papers about it.
Much later, Second Distrist Republican John Kline managed to get coverage in the Post Bulletin a couple of days after he signed on and put out a press release in late January. As we noted at the time, the article's writer phrases her report in a way that puts Kline out in front of Walz and Peterson on this issues. It's press release journalism at its most dreadful.
There's even more to the story. Many Minnesota newspapers wrote editorials scorning the automatic increase this year; until very recently, none except the Mankato Free Press noted Walz has refused this raises (and continues to decline old increases along with new), nor did they mention his sponsorship of the bill until the Strib brought it up. as Bluestem and the MnIndy reported in late December--and again without the aid of a press release). Perhaps Minnesota's press corps simply depends upon readers to look things up in Thomas for themselves.
Speaking of Thomas, we have to hand it to the Niles, Michigan, paper for being ahead of the curve in its reporting, unlike the legacy press in Minnesota. Upton became a co-sponsor yesterday, and the article is online today even before the congressional staff has entered Upton's name in the list of co-sponsors (see the screenshot posted as a thumbnail in this paragraph; Upton' name did not yet appear among those of the bill's co-sponsors).
A short delay between signing on as a co-sponsor and having one's name appear on the list of co-sponsors on Thomas isn't unusual. What seems too rare among some of Minnesota's "real" journalists is simply looking at Thomas to see what the state's representatives are co-sponsoring.
Especially if it's an issue--like the automatic pay raises--for which representatives are being scolded in editorials. For more background, see our post, More Minnesota media mum on Walz when kvetching about congressional raises, which ironically enough was posted on January 6, the day that H.R. 156 was introduced and Walz became a sponsor.