This WeekDuring those three weeks, we've had more Tim Durham stories broken. It's been revealed that county prosecutors have been pocketing millions of dollars that belong to the Common School Fund. Barnes & Thornburg received, from the Daniels administration a highly-controversial $5.25 million contract to represent FSSA in a lawsuit against IBM over the botched Medicaid privatization...even though B&T represents ACS, IBM's partner in the effort. The Indianapolis Star broke the news that officials in the Daniels administration knew about the IURC-Duke conflict of interest early on but did nothing. (Apparently there is an FBI investigation of that scandal.) Just a week or so ago, Indianapolis awarded a 50 year parking deal to ACS, despite obvious conflicts of interest.
The President’s trip to Kokomo
The politics behind the Indiana visit
Public school metrics and what they mean
The Democratic challenge to Charlie White’s election
The workload in the state court system
Plans for a Presidential trip to Kokomo
Speaker Brian Bosma appoints Democrats as committee chairs
Todd Rokita win a GOP leadership post on Capitol Hill
Richard Lugar pushes for ratification of the START Treaty
Governor Daniels completes trade mission
Beer now on sale at the City Market
Two Weeks Ago
Political fallout from the Officer David Bisard crash
Richard Mourdock’s interest in a run for U.S. Senate
Freshman Orientation in the General Assembly
The call for tax hikes to pay for rapid transit
Efforts to preserve a horse racing subsidy
Mark Souder’s attempt to restore his reputation
I'm sure that readers will point out many more stories that the host of the show, Jim Shella, simply chose to ignore during that three week period in favor of more bland topics. It seems that, at every opportunity, Shella shies away from controversial topics, in particular from topics which might step on the toes of powerful people in Indianapolis and Indiana government.
Not only are the topics lacking, so too is the panel. Every week the show features partisan spokespersons, usually Republican Mike McDaniel and Democrat Ann Delaney taking valuable time simply spouting the party line. The only ones who dare offer independent analysis of Shella's milquetoast topics are the reporters (and in the case of think tank president John Ketzenberger, a former reporter) and even that analysis is generally greatly tempered.
In terms of covering state and local politics, the Indiana Week in Review show is the only game in town and has been for years. I think the show has to be pushing 25 years old, having originated before Shella became host maybe 15 years ago. By now its audience can't be more than political junkies who have nowhere else to tune into to get their fill of political discussion.
A new state/local political talk show that tackles the tough issues and which has panelists who actually speaks their minds, would within a month or two eclipse the IWIR audience. Is it time for such a show? I think so.