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Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Thursday, November 2, 2006

Once more into the Kerry 'controversy.'

But only because Gal Beckerman does such an admirable job of summing up the press' role as the accomplices of the GOP spin machine:

The press dutifully and mindlessly leaped onto the new controversy, with no thought to how it shed absolutely no light on any of the issues that actually matter in these midterms. Seasoned political reporters like Adam Nagourney at the New York Times and Peter Baker at the Washington Post blew precious column inches on the fallout of a negligible misstatement by someone who isn't even on the ballot.

There is much to critique about this shameful moment. But to pinpoint one of the more frustrating elements, these journalists did not even have the intellectual honesty to admit that they helped make this story grow.

In account after account, the wide exposure of the Kerry comment was attributed to "White House and Republican allies." A New York Times "Political Memo" this morning described the provenance of the statement and its broad effect in almost religious terms, a deus ex machina, "manna from Massachusetts."

But the raised voices of Republican operatives alone--even when the president is among them -- do not a story make. For that you need reporters to amplify it and editors to give it prominence....

What saddens us most about the election coverage this year, and we've said it before, is that the press spends too much time bogged down in faux news like the Kerry thing, when there is so much at stake. Iraq, alone, should have elicited a spirited and interesting debate. The public is engaged on a number of issues, but Iraq tops nearly everyone's list. The press can't force candidates to debate something they want desperately to avoid, but it can try to minimize its complicity in the attempts--by both sides, we should add, though in this election overwhelmingly from embattled Republicans--to change the subject or ignore it altogether. And when the press is complicit, it should be honest and transparent enough to say so.
[Emphasis added]

Via CJR Daily.

| | Posted by Magpie at 8:31 PM | Get permalink




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