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Hullabaloo


Thursday, October 30, 2008

 
The Long March

by digby


Boehlert catches TNR patting the press corps on its collective heads because it's so darned tuckered from the long campaign it can't even think of anything to write about anymore. And he reminds us that he warned this would happen a long time ago:

The arrival of my year-end issue of Newsweek in December was accompanied by a palpable sense of dread. Featuring Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) on the cover with the headline, "The Race is On," the issue landed with a thud, like an unwanted fruitcake amidst the holiday season. How else to respond to a 2008 campaign preview package published 98 weeks before Election Day and nearly 400 days before a single registered Democrat would vote in a primary? That, plus the fact the 2008 drumbeat was sounding just six weeks after the all-consuming midterm elections had been completed.

Am I the only one who thinks it's madness to turn White House campaigns into 22-month press events? Or is it sacrosanct along the New York-Washington, D.C., media corridor, where pontificating about politics can pay very well, to suggest that there is such a thing as too much mainstream media election coverage?

The press truly has embraced the notion of the nonstop campaign and I think has done so for increasingly selfish reasons. For political scribes, presidential campaigns used to be the sports car their parents let them take out for a spin once every four years to show off. Now it's become a case of incessant cruising, with endless preening and posing. Specifically, White House campaigns can be career-making seasons, when high-profile promotions, book deals, TV punditry contracts, and teaching positions can be pocketed.

For news media companies, presidential campaigns meanbig business; relatively inexpensive content that can be endlessly rehashed. In other words, they're good for the bottom line.

The never-ending analysis for 2008, though, has already morphed into a deafening background noise. And the press' often shallow performance last week does not bode well for the long term.


No kidding. They turned this thing into a marathon spectacle that now seems longer than world war II. And I'm quite sure that people are excited and engaged in spite of the coverage rather than because of it, which is a testament to Obama's great appeal (and the hideous reality of what the conservatives have wrought.)

The TNR article congratulates the press for behaving like adults and not hating either of the candidates, which is about the faintest praise I've ever seen. how proud they must be. But, you know, that's just another form of the village disease: when Republicans are riding high, the press buys into their entire narrative and shows outright loathing for the Democrat. When the Republicans then fail in spectacular fashion, the media boys and girls rediscover their "professionalism" and treat both parties with equal, cynical skepticism. It is a slight improvement, to be sure, but I think we can all see some problems with that formula can't we?


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