Thursday, September 22, 2005

Maine Debate Impressions 3

God help me. I went to journalism school and I used to write like the earnest Ernest Scheyder III of the University of Maine –– straining for objectivity, adding acceptable levels of color without coloring the coverage. His article on the Question 1 debate in The Maine Campus newspaper is about as straight news as you can get for speech reportage.

If you want the down-and-dirty, self-serving and dishonest version, head over to Mike Heath's account in his blog. To read is to laugh.

He wrote an even funnier version on the CCL site, in which he claims he stunned the audience when he told them that his opponent used to work for the local newspaper companies. If you listen to the debate, you will be aware that he is the only one who seemed to think anything of that.

The UM rag maps the debate top to bottom. While Scheyder notes that it was obvious that the students favored keeping gay rights, you cannot see his own position here. The audience make it a bit easier. He finds pro-rights folk at talkbacks afterwards, but no repeal-the-gay-right-bill gatherings are there for contrast.

Surely, they could have found a free phone booth for one. Oh, right, everyone has a cell phone now...no phone booths.

If you want a huff-by-puff version of the debate, go to the student paper. On the other hand, Heath is unintentionally much more amusing and entertaining. He has a glorious hissy fit and strains the tropes to death.

Heath is all emotion and ego. He calls debate opponent Ted O'Meara, representing Maine Won't Discriminate, for personal attacks. That's sweet, as O'Meara did call Heath's off-topic ramblings "ridiculous" several times (far too few times from what we could hear).

The ad hominem assaults from Heath continued in the debate, on the CCL site, and in the Heath blog. Mikey cannot seem to get over thinking that O'Meara's professional position as a flack and advisor to the major Maine newspapers four years ago disqualifies him from speaking on this or any meaty topic. The accusations are repeated that this makes him a member of the media elite (and throw in that there is some out-of-Maine ownership for his previous employers). Pathetic.

Fact remains that Heath did come to the debate unarmed. He can spin it to his followers and pretend all he wants. After all, they pay him to represent their viewpoint and win for them. Put a big L in his column.

The university will make the debate feed available, reports MWD. When it does, we shall post a link. You can hear for youself.

If you are anti-gay rights and it would be too painful to hear, wait for Heath. He wants a transcript for CCL's site, apparently so that he can add some spin to selected passages.

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