Alvarez battles for clarity: This morning, the New York Times tried to report yesterday’s House election.
Jolly beat Sink in Florida’s 13th district. At the Times, Lizette Alvarez found the district a little bit hard to define.
This is the way she started:
ALVAREZ (3/12/14): In a major victory for Republicans in the battle for control of Congress, David Jolly, a former lobbyist, narrowly won a special election for a House seat on Tuesday in a hotly contested swing district, giving the party an expensive triumph in its fight against President Obama’s health care plan.The Republican won in a swing district. But hold on! By paragraph 5, the district seemed to be changing:
ALVAREZ: Even before the loss, Democrats were playing down a possible defeat, saying the mostly white, Republican-leaning district, packed with many older voters, was going to be a challenge for them.Is that just what the Dems were saying? Or is that what the district actually is? In paragraph 6, we learned this:
ALVAREZ (continuing directly): It is the first time in more than 40 years that the congressional district will be overseen by someone other than Representative C. W. Bill Young, a Republican who died in October, setting off the scramble for the job. But for some voters, Mr. Jolly was the closest thing to Mr. Young—for years he served as one of Mr. Young’s senior aides and general counsel.Did that make the district sound more Republican? In paragraph 12, we learned this:
ALCAREZ: The Gulf Coast district, always a centerpiece in national elections because of its many independent voters and a nearly equal number of Democrats and Republicans, is in Pinellas County, and it includes much of St. Petersburg.The two parties seemed to be even again. But near the end, in paragraph 20, Alvarez once again said the district was “Republican-leaning.”
We’re describing the news report we found in our hard-copy Times. On-line, additional material has been added to make the district sound more Republican. On the other hand, that second “Republican-leaning” reference has been dropped.
Whether on-line or in our hard copy, Alvarez never reported the fact that Obama carried the district in 2012. At least, that’s what we’ve read from other sources, for example from Kevin Drum.
This morning, we were plenty confused by the time we left the coffee joint. That said, there’s an old saying in Times reporting:
If you don’t like the Florida 13th district, just wait a while.