In an interview, Plunkett said the biggest reason the Post had not localized the story is that he is focused on the new state legislative session, which opened last week. “Two of the political desk members are covering that, and I am dealing with some other stories, and I was going to focus more on the Colorado [Republican presidential] caucus in an explicit way closer to the date of the caucus itself,” on Feb. 7, he said. (He also said that he was aware of the Dowd column mentioning a local connection, but that “it didn’t have a serious impact on me.”)
Plunkett added that the Post “routinely rel[ies] on the bigger papers that are covering the national races to provide that service to readers,” noting that the paper “spend[s] a lot of money” to feature content from The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other sources.
“I just don’t know that I’m ready to start jumping into that aspect at this stage,” he said.
At the right time, Plunkett conceded, it would “probably [be] a great idea for us to try to figure out what companies Bain operated here in Colorado.” He concluded with a caution about the enemy of all good journalists: assumptions.
“Reorganizations and layoffs aren’t always necessarily bad,” Plunkett said. “If the company survives, grows stronger and hires more people, it can be a useful thing. So the question is, ‘Was Bain raiding Colorado companies and sapping resources, laying off people with no [intention] of ever opening that position again?’ That would be where you would want to focus Just because Bain got involved here doesn’t mean it was nefarious.”
It’s a good point, one that suggests the Post would handle this challenging story well. With Bain unlikely to disappear from the campaign, let’s hope that the Post rises to the challenge, as Plunkett hinted it may—and that other local news sources around the country do the same.