I’m willing to give lots of props to local reporters who do a good job covering the preznit. I think journalists on the ground, at smaller papers and in smaller cities, get a bad rap by association with their national brethren. They do their jobs (which are often dangerous, especially if they work in large cities and try to actually cover crime) for very little pay and less recognition, but they get tarred with the brush that Daryn Kagan deserves. So I try not to pick on the local guys too much.

But this is a terrible, horrible, very bad story.

September 24, 2004 — The republican presidential campaign trail came to Chicago. First Lady Laura Bush and her twin daughters attended a lunchtime fundraiser at the home (pictured) of insurance executive Pat Ryan.

The motorcade arrived at a garden party fundraiser in the heavily republican suburb of Winnetka on the North Shore this afternoon. First Lady Laura Bush smiled and waved to a crowd of neighbors and school children across the street, where some of the mothers took pictures of their kids holding homemade signs welcoming the first lady.

“This is historical. It’s not every day you get to see the first lady in your backyard and we had the same occasion happen in the summer when the president was here, as well. It’s critical for the kids,” said Karen Rigg, Winnetka resident.

“We believe in family, the small community and all they’re doing to support, you know, support efforts of life and liberty and freedom,” said Laura Griffin, Winnetka resident.

It’s everything that’s wrong with television news: it’s shallow, it’s snooty, it ignores everything in front of it in order to report on a prearranged storyline.

The web site story really doesn’t do justice to the actual report. The reporter interviewed a crowd of pastel-suited blonde-frosted rich ladies at the gate of this mansion, all of them whiter than white. None of them had anything interesting to say, but they chattered away unchallenged, offering their half-thought-out opinions hemmed in with that satisfied suburban look, that utter lack of curiosity they share with their presidential idol.

No one from the Kerry campaign was actually interviewed on camera to respond, and no mention was made of the fact that reporters were not deemed worthy of getting a word in with the precious Bush progeny.

It’s not bias as much as it is laziness, I think, but that alone is enough to drive me up a tree.