Monday, November 28, 2022

Analysis of the Analysis


A few post-election dribs and drabs surfaced over the weekend. This piece in the Maryland Reporter by Len Lazarick caught my eye.


This paragraph got me thinking.

Del. Trent Kittleman, widow of Bob Kittleman, the first Republican ever elected to the legislature from Howard 40 years ago, narrowly lost in her reelection to a third four-term. “I’ve been in politics 55 years, and this is a sad thing we’re going through in this country,” Trent Kittleman told me 10 days after the election as her election night victory slipped away.

“…and this is a sad thing we’re going through in this country.” I wish I knew what Ms. Kittleman meant by that. It’s certainly a safe thing to say. It conveys disappointment and doesn’t place blame in any particular place. Maybe that’s all it was meant to do. After 55 years in politics it’s probably not too difficult to give that kind of response.

But what kind of “sad thing” are we going through in this country, Ms. Kittleman? Virulent racism, anti-semitism and anti-immigrant sentiment? Mass shootings becoming so common that we can’t even keep up with the details? Citizens forced to wait hours to vote because of organized voter suppression tactics? LGBTQ+ students fearful that they won’t be safe in school? Social media campaigns weaponized to attack sound medical knowledge about a worldwide pandemic?

I have a feeling that those aren’t on Ms. Kittleman’s list of sad things. I can’t be sure, of course, I haven’t asked her. Maybe I should.

And another thing: who is this “we” she speaks of? All Americans? Republicans? What do you think?

The other thing that struck me about the Maryland Reporter piece was the accompanying photograph.

No, that’s not true. What bugged me was the caption.

Former Howard County Executive speaks to crowd at his family's farm in West Friendship, along with, from right, Gov. Larry Hogan, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. Hogan's endorsement and help had little effect on the outcome. Maryland photo by Len Lazarick

Notice anything?

Count the people in the photo. Now count the number of people identified by Lazarick. Something doesn’t add up. There are four men and two women in this picture but only the men are identified.

“Well, they aren’t important to the story,” you might say. Or, “for the purposes of this piece they don’t matter.” That may be strictly accurate but I do get rather tired of women not being important to the story. Not being identified. Perhaps if this had been an article specifically about Allan Kittleman’s campaign event at his family’s farm, they might have been named.

Here’s the same photo in an October piece about Kittleman. Still not identified.

Using context clues I’d have to say that the woman on the right is an ASL interpreter and the woman on the left is The Democrat for Allan Kittleman. But that’s not truly a fair and accurate description. As insignificant as these two may be in this reporter’s analysis of the election, they are still the only two women on the dais at this particular event. They’re human beings. 

What can I say, these things bug me. 

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