Posted by Damozel | Ezra Klein, who can and does discuss policy, has identified the problem --- or rather two of the problems --- with the useless and degraded American media: (1) ignorance; and (2) laziness.
They know how to imply that Barack Obama has had bad friends, and Hillary Clinton tells lies, and John McCain -- well, they know how to doodle his initials inside a sparkly heart. What they don't know how to do, however, is say that one candidate's health plan, or housing plan, or economic agenda, is better than another candidate's. Which is why folks basically have to vote on grounds of flag pins and flip-flops -- they're not given much else in the way of analytical guidance. But I sympathize. Policy is hard. (Ezra Klein)
Yes, to report on policy you actually have to know something. You have to know something about history, current events, the structure of the US government, law, the constitution, economics, the economy, the world.......all the things that young people are increasingly less versed in knowing anything about and increasingly less interested in. Is it any wonder that coverage of the campaign has degenerated into stupid 'storylines' and that we're hearing way more today about the Rev. Wright than we are about the Bush Administration's ever-increasing focus on Iran?
Klein's piece is on the gas tax but his remarks have a far broader application.
When confronted by the fact that their coverage of politics is frequently trivial and annoying, many in the media argue that they only report that way because the voters make their decisions based on trivial and annoying issues. But there's no doubt that, with proper press coverage, the gas holiday could be one of those trivial and annoying issues that comes to stand-in for broader character failures or narratives or whatever. It's just that the media doesn't like to deal with policy.(Ezra Klein)
Because, you see, they're as pathetically ignorant and as lazy as the rest of us, and people who are lazily willing to be entertained and stimulated aren't as inured to being educated. Properly presented, the issues are as fraught with interest as any reality show. Well and properly presented, the real news and real discussion of real policy is the ultimate reality show.
But the American mainstream media apparently consists exclusively of corporate types with their eye only on ratings and nothing else, pretty young people who don't know anything or want to know anything, pretty young people with a penchant for gossip, and a few earnest types whose crucial stories barely get a glance from the talking heads.
I wish they'd go back to doing the hard, tedious, time and energy consuming work of reporting --- and commenting --- on news and public policy, and leave the gossip, and the speculation, to unpaid bloggers for whom speculation about events is a mere past-time and who don't have their opportunities for access to information?
But I know the answer to my question, of course: it's not only easier, but also far more profitable to produce infotainment than information. No wonder the line between journalists and bloggers is becoming so blurred.
RECENT BN-POLITICS POSTINGS