Paul LePage has had a rough month. Back in June he had his budget veto was overridden with a bipartisan vote. After joking that he wanted to blow up the Portland Press Herald in a flight simulator, a rumor circulated that he said President Obama “hates white people” at a dinner. While all of this has done nothing good for his image, it has gotten him more attention than he’s used to.
The interesting part of this is how big of a discrepancy there is between national, beltway, and state media. While LePaige’s difficulties have been extensively covered by state media and received some beltway coverage, it hasn’t made much of a wave nationally. This is surprisingly low profile for such a controversial governor – even if Maine is a relatively small state. We looked at another governor, Jerry Brown, to see how the statistics held up.
Brown also has significantly more state stories than anything else, which isn’t much of a surprise. What is surprising is how much bigger his national profile is compared to his beltway media coverage. The obvious explanation is state size – the governor of a 38 million person state usually has more national impact than the governor of a 1.3 million person state.
Still, the relative coverage by beltway media indicates a gap in what different kinds of news stories emphasize. While national news may cover events with a national impact and state news with state impact, beltway media focuses on events that have a political impact. The result seems to be a relative overrepresentation of small states in beltway coverage. Which, unfortunately for LePage, means more coverage of his rough summer.