…is it still a press conference?
That’s what happened Wednesday to both the major party candidates for U.S. Senate.
State Sen. Scott Brown stood alone — save for a WBUR reporter — at a lectern next to a giant restaurant bill called “Martha Coakley Tax Bill” and talked about all the additional taxes Massachusetts voters would have to pay if Attorney General Coakley gets to the Senate and Democrats have their way.
Brown called his wife, Gail Huff, a reporter for Channel 5, to find why out none of the television crews turned out for his news conference at his Needham campaign headquarters.
Turns out the TV crews were covering a Quincy man suspected of shooting an off-duty Milton firefighter out of road rage, as well as a missing mother who turned up lying half-conscious in the snow after disappearing for two days.
It’s a sign of how little attention the media is paying to this general election race.
The lack of attention makes Brown’s job of explaining the differences between Coakley and himself that much harder.
The two candidates started out with a huge difference in the amount of cash on hand they declared they had at the end of their primary campaigns. Brown had $257,000, Coakley $1.9 million.
Coakley has enough money to buy television ads. Brown needs to make news to get his message across.
Coakley, on the other hand, is doing everything she can not to make news. Her morning campaign stop at the annual meeting of a commercial real estate group was a decidedly low-key affair.
Unlike in the primaries, there wasn’t the normal throng of reporters and television cameras. WBUR had to sit behind a curtain in order to record her speech. We couldn’t even see fellow reporters, if they were there. (If they were, they were dressed in camouflage-grade business jackets and ties.)
Similarly, Coakley did not take questions from the audience after her address, though she did speak briefly to reporters, and left soon after the event finished.