Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Politics of Disgust

Everyone in this season of "enthusiasm gaps" is asking the same question: Why are Americans so disgusted with politics and the democratic process?

I think the political media plays a big part in the answer. At least it does for me.

After the 2008 election, I swear not three weeks went by before I started hearing about "repercussions for the midterm elections." Not three weeks.

In the next two years, huge policy initiatives were introduced, haggled over, debated and eventually passed - or not. But more likely than not, the bulk of the media coverage revolved not around the substance of legislation, but around the political and reelection prospects for the legislators involved.

It's all about the horse race. I understand that certain reporters are paid to cover politics and it's a very legitimate beat. But isn't there anything more to politics than elections? How about the long-term policy implications of legislation - rather than the short-term political?

We're all pretty sick of the horse race. Or at least I am.

And now, right on cue, comes the first glimmer of the next leg. Coming around the far turn, heading for the home stretch, two weeks before the midterms: There's this.

Let the handicapping for 2012 begin. I, for one, am hoping that the starting gate gets stuck.


  1. I looked at the headline. I'm not even going to read it. These "reporters," as they call themselves, express their opinions in their headlines. I'm not interested in opinions of journalists I don't know. I want the facts and I no longer get them from political journalists.

    So yes, I'm sick of it. I've ceased to watch television, I don't read the news. I get my political information and make my voting choices based on the opinions of those I respect: who supports this candidate or this measure? That helps me decide.

    I know there are good journalists out there, but the bad ones, who think they have to compete with Faux, have ruined it for me. Politics has become distasteful and divisive, something to be avoided. I think the media plays a big part in that.

    Hmm. I guess maybe this touches a nerve.

  2. Yes, it touches a nerve for me, too!

    Doyle McManus, the reporter in question, is a long-time, well-respected L.A. Times political correspondent and the article I linked to is clearly labeled "Opinion," to be fair.

    So he's doing his job. It just irks me that his (and others') job is to be first reporting on the next election. And it won't be the only coverage - the drumbeat will start and it'll be deafening by early next year, no doubt.