The Scene Pokes Fun at Hyperbolic Tennessean

If you’re going to make a grandstand, you should do it when it has a chance of working, otherwise you’re just calling attention to yourself.

Enter The Tennessean, which has decided NOW is the opportune time to start hammering hard on the Medicaid expansion plan Insure Tennessee — months after a special session failure and weeks after it died a second death in committee — with a front page editorial on Sunday.

“Daily we will publish stories, op-eds from Middle Tennessee community leaders, letters from ordinary citizens and other commentaries. We will publish the amount of money Tennessee is losing by not having Insure Tennessee, the amount of jobs that won’t be created without it, and the names and contact information of legislative leaders and the Commerce and Labor Committee senators who voted against the resolution (including Gardenhire) or abstained,” wrote Engagement Editor David Plazas.

Outside of the awkward headline construction — “We are not that vulgar term you called us, Senator” — it feels like the Tennessean brass had a look at the attention the Indianapolis Star got a few weeks ago and said, “huh, we can do that.”

And to hang all of this on Sen. Todd Gardenhire’s “asshole” comment, which Pith first posted weeks ago, just tumbles this whole thing into the realm of the absurd. Outside of a post on In Session, the paper’s politics blog, there has been hardly a mention of it by The Tennessean. Now, it’s the hook for a front-page, six-column editorial?

If you want to go to war, go to war. I’ll take Dave Boucher and Adam Tamburlin’s piece today, which hints at Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell positioning themselves for future statewide races, every day instead of Plazas’ piece. Real reporting beats preening for the cameras anytime.

But this is a fake war (continue reading)

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