Letter: Where’s the Stephen Colbert-Herman Cain coverage?

A Romenesko reader writes: Please don’t credit me. I’m an ex-newsie in a related field who can’t afford to alienate anybody!

After watching Stephen Colbert tonight [Monday] announce his brilliant scheme to have his supporters vote for Hermain Cain in South Carolina, I took a look at the online buzz. I found stories in a lot of places. I realized I was getting no Google News results from South Carolina newspaper sites. I checked The State and the papers in Greenville and Charleston. Zero on the story, even though The State and Greenville News have turned over much of their home page to primary news.

I don’t think this is a conspiracy or that these papers’ political reporters are too dumb to watch Colbert or read political blogs. I suspect one of these two newspaper-killers:

1. It broke late. Newspapers don’t do late news in print anymore. They don’t want to pay late “desk” reporters, and they have pushed their print deadlines absurdly early. And I’ll bet their websites each have one lowly paid shoveler to post stories on the web at night. Try calling that person and pleading with him/her to post something.

2. It wasn’t on the budget that the top editors approved at 3 p.m., shortly before they went back to their conference calls and committee meetings on finding a catchy motto to win back the readers.

I just checked the State and the Greenville News websites and still don’t see any mention of Colbert’s “brilliant scheme.” Please let me know if you spot stories. || Update: I’ve sent emails to editors at both papers.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Greenville News posted Colbert=”Herman Cain” late this afternoon.



  1. Paul said:

    This is a publicity stunt aimed at luring viewers to a TV comedy show owned by a major corporation. It most definitely is not news, so why criticize anyone for not falling for a publicity stunt disguised as news?

  2. Jake said:

    Because said publicity stunt could well skew the votes enough to hurt lower tier candidates, given Colbert’s following.

    Don’t be shocked if Cain beats Perry in SC, for example.

  3. Paul said:

    If you do that, all you do is give the stunt more… publicity. Guess we should all fish for our news in the offices of PR flacks?

  4. Paul said:

    By the way, from its own web site, the Colbert Report had in its highest month ever (August 2011) 1.5 million viewers. Nationwide. Mostly large urban markets. Mostly 18-34-year-old men. Not likely South Carolina voters.