Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Losing pol reporters: good or bad or so what?

Excerpts froma a NY Times article, after which my comments follow below the star line.

The NYT begins - - -

As Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama debated in Cleveland on a snowy evening in late February, 650 journalists descended on the city to follow every jab and parry, albeit on enormous televisions in two makeshift filing centers.

But early the next morning, as the two candidates set off for engagements across Ohio and Texas, representatives of only two dozen or so news organizations tagged along.

For most of the others, the price of admission — more than $2,000 for just one person to travel on Mr. Obama’s charter flights that day — was too steep, in an era in which newspapers in particular are slashing costs and paring staff, and with no end in sight to a primary campaign that began more than a year ago.

Among the newspapers that have chosen not to dispatch reporters to cover the two leading Democratic candidates on a regular basis are USA Today, the nation’s largest paper, as well as The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, The Miami Herald and The Philadelphia Inquirer (at least until the Pennsylvania primary, on April 22, began to loom large).

Traveling campaign reporters say they try to do more than just regurgitate raw information or spoon-fed news of the day, which anyone who watches speeches on YouTube can do. The best of them track the evolution and growth (or lack thereof) of candidates; spot pandering and inconsistencies or dishonesty; and get a measure of the candidate that could be useful should he or she become president.

Deep and thoughtful reporting is also being produced by journalists off the trail. And some news organizations that can afford it are doing both. But the absence of some newspapers on the trail suggests not only that readers are being exposed to fewer perspectives drawn from shoe-leather reporting, but also that fewer reporters will arrive at the White House in January with the experience that editors have typically required to cover a president on Day 1. ...

The entire Times story is here.


You can do a fine job reporting a presidential campaign with three or four dozen very smart, experienced, honest, non-partisan and politically knowledgeable reporters who have a deep appreciation for both what makes this country great and its importance to the survival of some kind of a civilized world.

That would certainly be better than what we have now - hundreds, some days thousands of reporters covering the campaign - almost all of whom are producing something mediocre, often partisan and a lot like the stories the other journalists around them are producing.

It's no surprise about the similarity among stories. Most pol reporters go with "the flow" and the campaign's talking points. Some who want to get a scoop will pester the campaign press office to tell him/her what the points will be so they can "prepare" their story.

Last week did you see the clips of the NYT's Elizabeth Bumiller badgering Sen. McCain about meetings he had four or more years ago with Sen. Kerry during which the vice-presidency was discussed.

McCain said he’d answered the questions repeatedly; but that didn’t satisfy Bumiller.

Today we know why she was badgering McCain. The NYT recycled the four year old story and ran it yesterday.

Meanwhile, you have Sen. Obama supporter Sen Kerry making important, politically controversial remarks caught on video tape during an interview Kerry had with the New Bedford Standard.

Kerry claimed Obama could reach out to moderate Muslims “because he’s an African-America, he’s a black man.” That will be big news to Muslims; American's should know about it too.

Kerry’s statement about the “post-racialist” Obama was made just a few days after Obama had castigated former Dem V-P candidate Geraldine Ferraro for what he said was injecting race into the campaign.

You can read much more about Kerry’s remarks and access the video here. Judge Kerry's remarks for yourself if you haven't already done so.

With hundreds of reporters covering the three candidates, the Kerry news story has not broken through the MSM “filter.”

But a few honest, non-partisan reporters at the major networks and newspapers asking Obama, Clinton and their top aides about it would “get the story out there.

Your turn.


mac said...
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