I can't tell if the Black Hills Pioneer is in the tank for mayoral candidate Dana Boke or current mayor Jerry Krambeck. In the Spearfish paper's Saturday coverage of Wednesday's public forum, reporter Heather Murschel catalogs many of Boke's implied charges against Krambeck:

  • "...she wants to bring a fresh perspective to city government, make the overall operations more transparent, and to provide a 'voice' for area residents."
  • "...when someone holds an elected position for too long, they oftentimes get too 'comfortable' and tend to not see the bigger picture anymore."
  • "Boke said she would be an advocate for the city, encourage growth and lead without bringing an agenda to the table."
  • "Referring to how she would garner support of city council members, it will be to not 'strong arm' them to get things done."

Murschel does not supply details of how the current administration has become "comfortable," fails to see the big picture, brings an agenda to the table, or "strong arms" council members... but then neither did Boke.

Murschel does not balance this laundry list of attacks—studiously gentle, nameless, and implied as they were—with the pointed attacks Krambeck lodged against Boke:

So sort that out for me: the local paper gives inches to the challenger's attacks on the incumbent but does not mention the incumbent's attacks on the challenger. Is the Black Hills Pioneer trying to promote the challenger's anti-status-quo campaign slogans and prevent the mayor's counter-attacks from getting legs? Or, operating on the assumption that people don't like negative campaigning is bad, is Murschel trying to hang Boke with all of her attacks while keeping Krambeck's more blunt and personal attacks from public view?

Either way, readers of BHP's Saturday coverage aren't getting the full picture of the debate dynamic that emerged between Krambeck and Boke in their only shared public appearance last week.