One of the more depressing elements of this election is the awful coverage in our print media. For newspapers desperately looking for new readership, this is a time to get people hooked. But what we get, day after day, is junk and bunk.
Case in point today’s (Sept. 7) New York Times, front page story “Rival Tickets Are Redrawing Battlegounds.” Sub-head: “Palin Helps GOP put more states in play.” Authors Patrick Healy (formerly of the Globe) and Michael Cooper.
“Fresh from the Republican convention, Senator John McCain’s campaign sees evidence that his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mare is energizing conservatives in the battleground of Ohio while improving its chances in Pennsylvania and several Western states that Senator Barack Obama has been counting on.”
Now, if it’s true, that’s news indeed.
But where does this come from?
“Strategists say that Mr. McCain can now count on a more motivated social conservative base to help him in areas like southern Ohio, where the 2004 race was settled.”
“Strategists?” Who are they? Who is paying them? What information are they basing their conclusions on?
Turns out that this “strategists” quote is the only piece of real evidence that Healy and Cooper cite in the entire piece to advance their thesis.
But Palin was nominated as a complete unknown only a week ago. There’s no way that the public has formed a coherent picture of her yet and certainly there is no way that a decent survey could capture attitude changes if they exist.
This article is pure helium. What’s going on? Two things, I suspect. First, these “journalists” are suckers for anything that suggest a real horse race. The horse race metaphor is the only compelling force in their shallow, small-minded, world that’s attractive.
Second, The McCain campaign has been much more aggressive at planting stories like this with folks like Healy/Cooper. The “strategists” they cite anonymously reek of McCain sources.
Such is the higher journalism is our great country