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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Don't get around much any more

To watch Deval Patrick speak with Emily Rooney is to remember how he got elected.

Alternately serious and glib -- always direct, even under the sometime sharp-edged questions from Rooney -- the man who beat the pols to win the Corner Office came through.

And not the frequently tone-deaf pol who currently occupies that office.

It makes you wonder why he doesn't get out more often.

It's a battle as old as politics and journalism. Politicians seek media attention to put their views across. It's usually a mixture of public service and self-service and journalists are rightfully wary of allowing any grandstanding.

Patrick seems to relish doing battle with the media, starting with a combative speech to the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association shortly after his election. His body language during media events and his occasional Q &A sessions with reporters is striking in comparison with his relaxed demeanor with Rooney.

Aside from one town hall forum broadcast on NECN, which has the air time, I recall very few extended opportunities to watch him. And while Patrick's communications folks avail themselves of everything from the Eagan and Braude radio show, web videos and Twitter, the man doesn't seem to be getting his message out there.

So here's a challenge -- for both sides. How about a 30-minute (or commercial shortened) prime time no holds, barred go-round? To make it more challenging for Patrick, have WBZ-TV's Jon Keller ask the questions. To make it more news-based and less of a campaign forum, do similar sessions with House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray. Heck, let's even throw in Treasurer Tim Cahill.

The ultimate winners would be the public that gets to see its leaders talk about real problems the Commonwealth is facing and what is being done. That would be a real public service.

Hey, I can dream can't I?

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