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Bay Area Economic Club: Is passion for politics waning?

Journalist: Viewers

October 2, 2012
By Ilsa Matthes - staff writer ( , Daily Press

ESCANABA - The Bay Area Economic Club welcomed Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame member Tim Skubick at Bay College Monday night.

Skubick holds a variety of positions relating to political journalism in Michigan. In addition to hosting "Off the Record" on Michigan Public Television, Skubick is the capitol correspondent for the Michigan Radio Network, political editor for Lansing's NBC affiliate, WILK, writes a blog for the Michigan news group MLive, and is a stringer for WWJ news radio in Detroit.

After more than 42 years covering Michigan politics, Skubick is now the only full-time television and radio correspondent covering the state capital in Michigan. He believes the reason there are no other capital correspondents is that viewers are not interested in political coverage.

"I have often said to myself, 'Skubick, you should have been a sports writer.' Why? Because we are passionate about our sports and not so passionate about our politics," he said.

According to Skubick, the political coverage that viewers do watch is slanted towards the views they already hold. "We're going to places that reinforce our beliefs. Wrong. We should be watching everybody," he said.

From news reports to political ads, Skubick spoke out against media presentations of politicians that unfairly paint them in a negative light.

"I had no idea that politics really does have really good people in it," said Skubick. "The media does an awful disservice to our democracy by painting all these guys as crooks. Are there some? Yes, but we weed them out eventually."

The perceptions of candidates caused by the media may not be the media outlet's fault, but rather how the candidates present themselves. "Here's the bad thing about television, the nonverbal trumps the verbal every time," said Skubick.

This could be a problem for Mitt Romney, who is often seen as being "stiff," according to Skubick. Skubick highlighted Romney's stiffness by comparing him to his father, George Romney, who was the governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969.

"He doesn't have the same drive. He doesn't have the same passion," said Skubick. "For those of you who knew George Romney, you knew where he stood. You may not have agreed with him but by God there was nothing wishy-washy."

Skubick believes President Obama will have problems motivating young voters to support him the way they did during the 2008 election. "Now he's trying to put Humpty-Dumpty together again. Trying to put that back same passion - you know what? That's hard to do," said Skubick.

Skubick's television show, "Off the Record" is broadcast on Michigan Public Television station WKAR-TV in East Lansing, and can be viewed online at



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