America’s Next Top President

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Yesterday, I made a point about how the most of the journalism world, in an effort to keep this “objectivity” that they seem to value so much, is more obsessed with trying to answer the question, “Who is going to win?” instead of “Who would make the best president?”

For some reason, when reporters ask that second question, they are usually talking to diner goers, subway riders, and other typical “persons on the street.”  Serious examinations of policy proposals are left to Op-Ed writers and commentators who are required to express some sort of opinion.  The reporters rarely seek out, say, a health care policy expert to compare the plans of Obama and Clinton because (gasp) they might end up with a story about why one has a better plan than the other.

Most of the time, the “experts” that most reporters talk to are the pollsters.  If you follow this stuff long enough, you’ll become really familiar with names like Terry Madonna, James Lee, John Kennedy, etc.  Each of them is extremely smart and has a ton of background knowledge about elections in Pennsylvania.  They are perfect to play the “color analyst” to the reporter’s “play-by-play guy” in what is commonly known as “horse-race journalism.”  Here is a great, though dated, explanation of horse-race journalism.

Well, Andrew Tyndall, writing on The Huffington Post, claims that in 2008, the horse-race journalism may be being pushed aside for “reality gameshow journalism“:

Stop thinking of this election as a race to the wire to be won by the candidate with the finest pedigree, truest form and best connections. Start thinking of it as a cast of larger-than-life characters, scheming against each other while simultaneously trying to appear attractive to the electorate audience. Week by week the group undergoes media trials such as candidate debates and Sunday morning interviews. Each primary election constitutes another potential elimination round.

The winner gets to be a constant television presence in our homes for four years.

One can only hope that this constant television presence is as entertaining as my favorite Jaslene.

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