In comparing a press release concerning Pawlenty's budget forecast for years to come against a Star Tribune article on the same forecast given at a news conference March 2nd, some things stand out notably.
First, the press release distributed by the State capitol features only quotes from Pawlenty. The quotes used in this release don't candy coat the state's financial status though, contrary to some people's expectations. The release paints a true picture of the state's "budget picture," but I sense some partisanship in the release's vernacular.
One example is the quote used about Pawlenty calling upon the legislature to devise a budget plan by March 17. He says...
"In recent years, the Democrats have waited until the final days of session to come up with a budget plan and it typically incorporates massive tax increases," Governor Pawlenty said. "That won't work and the people of Minnesota deserve a chance to react to their proposals."
Whatever goes into a press release is carefully and strategically thought out. This means the communicators at the capitol were consciously thinking of a way to blame democrats for unproductive budget proposals and whatnot. That quote could have easily been left out, too, but doing so would not have gotten Pawlenty's administration's message out the way they wanted it to.
Continuing with this idea, the quotes in the Star Tribune article also feature state economist Tom Stinson, who's known for remaining rather politically independent, having worked with both DFL and GOP governors for over two decades, with more optimistic words in comparison from the grimness of Pawlenty's statements such as:
"We think we've turned the corner and we are on the recovery side," said Tom Stinson, state economist. "But it's going to be long, and it's going to be slow."
What I don't like about the press release is that it was written and distributed after the news conference at which Pawlenty gave his report on the state budget.
I also dug for a release that announces the news conference as an upcoming event and could not locate one. The release seems like an article the capitol's communicators constructed to best suit their needs in hopes that newspapers would pick it up and use that material.
It's almost like they wrote this release as if no one actually saw the news conference. Perhaps some lazy journalists (who didn't learn how to cover speeches in journalism school) went ahead and used what the capitol doled out, but that would be some pathetic journalism. It seems as though Baird Helgeson and Rachel Stassen-Berger actually attended the event and wrote a cohesive and balanced article for the Star Tribune.