Wick Communications

When the local guy goes viral

In journalism on 13 Sep 2012 at 3:00 pm

I’m sure the folks in Wasilla can relate to what the last couple of weeks have been like at the Carmel Pine Cone. Carmel is the pretty little coastal burg that once boasted Clint Eastwood as its mayor – and Eastwood is the closest thing to Sarah Palin that we have this political season.

When the movie mogul went rogue at the Republican convention, a slack-jawed nation wanted to know more about Eastwood and his independent brand of politics. (The Pine Cone says that Eastwood is a fiscal conservative but sides with liberals on social issues like gay marriage and abortion rights.)

The Pine Cone has perhaps my favorite name in all the newspaper world. It’s a very good little paper and has been around for a long, long while. As I write this, the front page features local stories of a car accident, a sand sculptor, a cop’s suspicious stabbing (the subhead reads, “Or maybe one of his ’30 to 40’ girlfriends did it”). There is also a long interview Publisher Paul Miller conducted with Eastwood.

Miller’s interview is obviously made possible by his years-long relationship with the star. Eastwood’s quotes ring absolutely true (meaning that they sound like something he would say). And the resulting story includes nuggets many larger publications would love to have. This is quite a nugget: …

“President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” Eastwood told The Pine Cone this week. “Romney and Ryan would do a much better job running the country, and that’s what everybody needs to know. I may have irritated a lot of the lefties, but I was aiming for people in the middle.”

I just mention the story because any of us could suddenly find ourselves in Miller’s situation. And everyone in Wasilla will tell you it can be much, much more unrelenting than Eastwood’s 15 minutes.



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