Last night, MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell devoted a hefty five-minute segment (on view below) to the Denver school board race and candidate Emily Sirota. Why? O'Donnell followed an article from The Nation that called the contest the wackiest in the country. But it's hard to imagine either piece existing without the media clout of syndicated columnist, author and AM760 host David Sirota, Emily's husband.
John Nichols, author of The Nation piece, discloses in it that he's "known and respected" David, described as a "progressive author and commentator," since "his days as as aide to Congressman David Obey, D-Wisconsin." David has also written for The Nation -- here's his online page at the publication. And he's guested on MSNBC on numerous occasions, including this past March, when he was quizzed by Rachel Maddow about his latest book, Back to Our Future.
Nonetheless, O'Donnell didn't mention David by name during last night's segment -- although a photo of him with Emily, their son Isaac and their dog did flash on the screen at one point. Instead, Emily was portrayed as something of an Everymom (albeit one who used to work for Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer) fighting a slate of well-financed opponents with a pro-voucher agenda.
Emily Sirota isn't to blame for this omission -- that's on O'Donnell and his team. And neither does her husband deserve criticism for using his connections to benefit a campaign in which he obviously believes. Still, there's little doubt the interest of The Nation and MSNBC was piqued by the last name of a certain underdog candidate.
Look below to see The Last Word segment, followed by a Fox31 piece on the race with a very different spin -- one in which Sirota is portrayed as fighting the sort of reforms supported by her opponent, Anne Rowe.
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More from our Education archive: "Michael Hancock launches Denver Education Compact to help improve public schools."