GoLocal Shoots Itself In the Foot

I thought GoLocalProv.com was on to something with a little feature they came up with for this week where they’d show where each federal candidate was spending their campaign money, in-state or out of state. However, I don’t know how much good it does for your story when you show the numbers and then basically say “but it doesn’t matter.” Why run the story and the series then, if it doesn’t really matter?
Example, today’s video on the Doherty vs. Cicilline race. The reporter does a great deal of research digging in to see where everything is spent and tabulating the in-state versus out of state costs. Cicilline comes up with 45% spent in-state compared to 72% for the Doherty campaign. Apparently this whole “Jobs for Rhode Islanders” is merely rhetoric to Cicilline and a bit more real for Doherty, but let’s not distract with little issues like honesty in campaign promises.
The real problem with the GoLocalProv video is that they are making a big deal about where the candidates are spending their money but as soon as we see the Cicilline and Doherty numbers, on comes Guest Mindsetter and Democratic activist Aaron Regunberg to tell us why the numbers are “deceivingly low”:

“And a large proportion of them are things that kind of have to be out of state. There’s a lot of expenses on travel, which obviously is going to be outside of Rhode Island. There was expenses on phone bills which go outside Rhode Island. Expense on ACTBlue payments, the Democratic fundraising tool which is headquartered out of state.”

Wait, why exactly do travel costs need to be paid to an out of state firm? We’re not talking about the Congressman traveling to DC as part of his job, that’s not a campaign expense. Why would campaigning in RI have an out of state cost affiliated with it? That sounds like someone really digging deep for a justification. I’d call that one quite a stretch. To stretch even further, telephone costs? Really? Doesn’t every campaign have these? So what really accounts for the 27 percentage point difference?
After Regunberg’s explanation, immediately the voiceover says the next guest, the president of a consulting and events company “agrees.” Listen to the video and you’ll see there is absolutely nothing in there where he agrees with Regunberg that it makes sense for Cicilline to be spending so much more out of state. Why is that?
What this video really amounts to is GoLocalProv shooting itself in the foot. The whole point is “look at this great work we did in figuring out this information!” but then spend the majority of the time saying “but don’t pay any attention to it because it doesn’t really matter anyway.”
Some people over at GoLocal are doing a great job at what they do but when you get something like this, not even a thinly-veiled attempt to hide one’s own biases, it hurts the credibility of the entire product.

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Max D
Max D
10 years ago

Mayor Cicilline never cared about keeping Rhode Islanders working. He has been Rhode Island’s own chief outsourcer. His most popular outsourced projects were the 195 pedestrian bridge and the famous ‘P’ logo. Why would anything change?

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