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Different Takes on Convention From National, Local Press

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On July 6, the New York Times published "Delays and Rising Costs for Convention Raise Worries for Democrats," a compendium of information and speculation about preparations for August's Democratic National Convention. A lot of the most embarrassing items in it surfaced previously in the Denver dailies. For instance, the fact that just three state delegations have signed on to the planners' overhyped "green" program appeared in a June 28 Rocky Mountain News article. But the overall tone of the coverage seems quite different, with the Times discussing the problems in a hard-edged manner that lacks the reassuring, everything's-going-to-be-all-right tenor of so many locally produced pieces.

The aforementioned Rocky offering about carbon neutrality at the convention is a case in point. The story quotes Pat Waak, chair of Colorado's Democratic Party, who touts the initiative, and a young Vermont delegate who's bound and determined to participate -- but it doesn't include comments from anyone who sees the notion as emblematic of idealism losing the battle with practicality. Moreover, local articles about convention troubles tend to be matched or outweighed by ones that concentrate on the excitement of staging a huge party in our own backyard, or others that knock down rumors put forward elsewhere. Examples of the latter include a July 3 Denver Post brief featuring denials that the convention might be shortened by a day and a July 7 Rocky effort dominated by refutations of numerous claims in the previous day's Times salvo, including the assertion that cost overruns are already in the $6 million range.

Granted, the Times' article isn't perfect. The implication that representatives of the Obama campaign are heading to Denver mainly to keep convention planners based here from running amuck is suspect, since such folks certainly would have been heading this direction anyway; the presumptive nominee's minions always take a strong hand in guiding events like this one. But being too tough is preferable to not being tough enough. -- Michael Roberts

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