We’re going to spend some time today kind of talking inside baseball stuff.
The Missourinet has sent our Director of News Services, Ashley Byrd, to Cleveland for a week to see if chaos does, indeed, erupt and to report on the Missouri delegation’s role in the most unusual national political convention the Missourinet has ever covered.
Ashley is based at the Learfield News Division nerve center in Jefferson City. She oversees all of our networks in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Carolina.
Covering national political conventions has been an essential part of the existence of the Msisourinet since we sent Jeff Smith (now a retired Northwest Airlines VP in Minneapolis) and Chuck Morris (who now is a Christian radio host in California) to the conventions in 1976. The Missourinet was formed to fill a void in broadcast reporting in Missouri—covering state government. And covering Missouri’s delegation to the national conventions remains part of that purpose. Our delegations have had their ups and downs as far as influence at conventions, but the Missourinet has always felt it’s important for the people of this state hear about Missouri’s participation in the process.
It’s been quite a while since Missourians expressed their preference for the Republican candidates—it was March. To refresh your memory: There were a lot of candidates still on the ballot then although some already had thrown in the towel. Trump got 40.844% of the vote. Ted Cruz got 40.634. John Kasich got 10.099 and the rest picked up the crumbs that fell off the table.
The list of convention speakers released this weekend includes no names from Missouri. And don’t look for the Missouri delegation on your teevee. The seating chart shows a center section of delegates from New York, Florida, and Tennessee. In the first right-hand section (looking at the stage), Missouri is behind Wisconsin, South Carolina, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island and apparently a few seats might be across the aisle in an area occupied by Georgia, North Carolina,
and American Samoa.
Cleveland, we hear, is kind of nervous about this whole business, partly because of the turmoil that Trump creates and partly because of recent incidents of mass violence. Almost two square miles of downtown Cleveland is considered an event zone that has security restrictions. And things are really tight in the convention center neighborhood. Our reporters dealt with the security hassles at conventions four years ago and indications are that Cleveland is going to be even tighter. But we’d rather have our reporters covering the news than being an unfortunate part of the news in Cleveland.
Be watching the Missourinet social media pages and the webpage all week for Ashley’s updates and listening to your Missourinet affiliates station’s newscasts. —
We’ll be waiting for a report on a tap-dance at the convention that could make Riverdance seem like a box-step. One of the speakers is Ted Cruz, who in Indianapolis on March 3 called Trump “utterly amoral” a “narcissist,” a “serial philanderer,” and “a pathological liar.” Trump used his Cruz designation of “Lyin’ Ted” several times during the campaign, including during a debate in May.
If you call a guy a liar who has called you a liar, should anybody believe anything good you say about each other later?
We wonder if the convention band will play a tune from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I:
When the last little star has left the sky,
Shall we still be together
With our arms around each other
And shall you be my new romance?
On the clear understanding
That this kind of thing can happen,
Shall we dance?
Shall we dance?
Shall we Dance?
We did see one report from a Wall Street Journal reporter that RNC folks have gotten real busy at the last minute replacing signs in the convention center reading “White elevators.” Such signs don’t play well, given some of the comments from the party’s presumptive nominee, of course. We’ve been in a lot of convention centers and we know they’re often marked for different zones for the convenience of attendees which leads us to wonder—because we are left without some information that might have been included in the story—whether there are blue elevators or green elevators or other color elevators in other zones of the building.
Some folks might think the elevator brouhaha is a matter of over-sensitivity. But accidental or not, they’re also seen as signs of the times at the Trumpvention.
We need to mention here that Mike Lear, who was one of those convention reporters four years ago, has joined the staff of the information office of the Missouri House of Representatives. Mike’s last day at the Missourinet was Friday. The House Information Office where he starts working this week is non-partisan. Republicans and Democrats seem to think they each need to have their partisan voices separate from the information office and are spending taxpayer money to pay people to make sure you know the two parties don’t like each other.
Mike was with us for about five years. We brought him in after long-time Managing Editor Brent Martin was promoted to the news directorship of our network in Nebraska. Mike was an outstanding reporter for us and he was great to work with. We spent a lot of late hours in our Capitol newsroom during legislative sessions, putting together our stories for the next morning after the Senators and Representatives had left for the day. Mike was our food-scrounger. He was the one who knew where to find the leftover food from dinners brought in to feed House committee members. Yes, we wound up eating a lot of food provided by lobbyists but we never knew which lobbyist had done the committees favors each night so we never worried about showing any preference for any cause of issue—other than making sure we didn’t go hungry.
The Capitol Press Corps has lost a good reporter. But his wife and five daughters will be gaining a husband and father with more time to spend with them because he’ll be working more regular hours and will have weekends and holidays off.
Taking over Mike’s slot in the Missourinet newsroom is Brian Hauswirth. Brian is a newsie through and through. We’ve known him for several years from days when he was in local radio in Jefferson City and Moberly and respected his work in both places. He’s been the Assignment Editor at KMIZ-TV in Columbia for the last few years, hungering for a chance to get back to face-to-face reporting.
The other night, at a going-away gathering for Mike at Prison Brews, we asked affiliate relations director Mike Cady to get a picture of the three generations of Missourinet leaders. That’s Brian on the left, Mike in the middle, and your correspondent on the right. We hope it’s a long time before a four-generation picture is taken.