Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Guest Opinion - Journalism Gets an F

As a journalist myself, it pains me to watch what is happening to Howard Dean right now. As I write this, the results from New Hampshire are not in yet, but the results of the national media's "take" on Iowa are in.

And that's the problem. Covering politics has become a process of reduction. Even print media have no space or time to make in-depth comparisons between candidates on the
issues. And the TV media -- forget it, give them the short visual or the sound byte. The Media wants us to BELIEVE the famous Dean Scream makes up for all the missing analysis. That and the horse-race approach to coverage IS their coverage.

The Democrats have a candidate who has used the Internet and brave stances in opposition to the most cynical Republican maneuvers of the last 2 years FOR the last 2 years. A candidate who has brought in enormous numbers of young voters for the FIRST TIME in their lives. And yet I saw a network piece on TV last night about all the young voters John Kerry has brought to the process in New Hampshire. The reporter had been totally co-opted by the press people on the Kerry campaign. If all the Internet supporters, young and old, who have supported Dr. Dean come away from Arizona and Feb. 3 with the impression their efforts have been ignored by Democrats and the National Media, do NOT expect these people to vote for ANYONE next November.

"Elect-ability" or "the best candidate to beat George W. Bush" is a perception debate that gets DEFINED by the media, even when they like to pretend they have objectivity on this issue. Voters get their "take" on this issue from the media. I suggest the most elect-able Democrat would be the one who brings in the most new voters.

Howard Allen
Journalist, Former Editor of The Tucson Weekly

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