LePaige’s Rough Summer


Lepage

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.

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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.

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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.

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