Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Non-Story That Wouldn't Die

The story of Tom Reilly's phone call to Worcester DA John Conte again graced the front page of the Globe today. Not only that, but the Herald is now reporting that the Attorney General talked with another campaign contributor who was a neighbor to the parents of the girls involved in the fatal crash before intervening. The AP picked that story up, so you can expect it to be in the news tomorrow as well. None of this, of course, should make a difference because all Reilly actually did is tell Conte to do something the law required him to do anyway -- keep medical records confidential.

The thing of it is, if Reilly had handled this better from the beginning, the press would have moved on. There's no shortage of things going on in the state and in the country -- Samuel Alito's confirmation, the Jack Abramoff scandal, the new medicare drug plan, people getting murdered in Boston, special elections (as if the local media ever covered them). This should have been a two-day story tops during the week after New Years when most people are still settling in after coming back from vacation, but somehow it's been a constant drumbeat from the media -- radio, TV and print -- for the past week. This is the kind of thing that people pick up by osmosis without learning the details. That just leaves them with the idea that Tom Reilly did something shady on behalf of a contributer. Not exactly the picture he wants painted, I'm sure

While I think this isn't much of a scandal, I have to say that if this is the kind of damage control we can come to expect from the Reilly campaign in the months to come, he's in real trouble.