SPRINGFIELD - Illinois' state capital is one of the most isolated in the country, and that spells trouble, a new study reported in the Los Angeles Times shows.
The most corrupt state capitals – Jackson, Miss., Baton Rouge, La., Nashville, Tenn., Pierre, S.D., Springfield, Ill., and Albany, N.Y., for example – are all more isolated than average. Nashville is the least so, being a major city in its own right although distant from other population centers in the state. Springfield and Pierre rank as the two most isolated on the list. The less isolated the capital, the more likely it is to rank low on corruption.
Isolation doesn’t explain everything, of course. Some states, such as Oregon, Washington and Vermont, have unusually low levels of corruption. But the impact of isolation appears strong.
And the reasoning makes sense ... it's the lack of media coverage or maybe there's just a few at these isolated capitals that spend evenings at the bars with lawmakers, developing relationships that remove objectivity and enable bad behavior. Sort of like it is at Illinois' capital ...
What might cause the relationship between isolation and corruption, the researchers asked. One possibility was that newspapers, which provide most coverage of state governments, may be less likely to cover the capital when it is further from their circulation areas. So they examined the content of 436 U.S. newspapers, searching for references to state government. Sure enough, “in states where the population is more concentrated around the capital,” the study found “more intense media coverage of state politics, and therefore greater accountability.”
Another link is a poorly educated population. If so, that's even more troubling. Time to think of the Capital moving to Joliet??