If you enjoy sweating through your T-shirt while knocking on doors for your favorite political candidate, you’re welcome to meet Saturday morning at the Northeast Exchange Club Park where volunteers for the Rick Baker campaign will stage before heading off into the surrounding neighborhoods.
Everyone’s welcome. Everyone that is except the media.
Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times wrote last Friday that Baker’s campaign “balked at letting a Times reporter and photographer accompany volunteers as they went house to house.”
Baker’s campaign is worried that journalists might unsettle residents and be an invasion of their privacy, said campaign spokeswoman Brigitta Shouppe.
Shouppe is right. Reporters tagging along with canvassers would change the dynamic of the process. Think of it as the political equivalent of the observer effect. This is when — thanks Google — individuals modify an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed.
Undoubtedly, what a potential voter will say to a canvasser by themselves is a lot different that what that voter will say if their words are on the record with a reporter.
Well, this is also the campaign which aired TV ads in north Pinellas. There’s no accounting for their tactical errors.
Remember, the objective of canvassing is win votes, not public relations.