Okay, I guess it’s important for politicos to know that the Times is worried that moderates may fall off the cliff after November, but the rest of the story did nothing to engage the ordinary reader. It was soooo inside baseball. We learn that Snowe was crestfallen by the defeat of Castle, her personal friend, and “expressed surprise,” as the Times put it, that Republicans in Delaware rejected Castle, whom she called “the highest caliber, an outstanding public servant for the people of Delaware and the country.”

Then came words from Maine’s other Republican, moderate Susan Collins, who said “it is stunning that he could be defeated in a primary.”

The quotes in the Journal Sentinel piece actually illuminated the role of the Tea Party, while the Times served a bunch of react quotes from pols that mean little to people interested in the Tea Party’s ascendance.

The rest of the Times piece read like a collection of random notes understood by insiders and few others. Outgoing New Hampshire senator Judd Gregg said he believed primary voters were driven by frustration over federal spending and the economy. Given the rising influence of the Tea Party, votes of all Republicans are likely to come under Tea Party fire if the legislators stray off the reservation. The Senate Republican leadership attended a Capitol Hill fundraiser last week for Nevada Tea Party senatorial candidate Sharron Angle. Who cares?

We know large segments of the electorate are disengaged and disaffected this year. The Times piece shows why that might be so. The Journal Sentinel piece shows why it doesn’t have to be that way.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.