Big Media is exhausted. Big Media is unhappy. Big Media is grumbling.
For a while Big Media enjoyed the early campaign. They could concentrate on the exciting horse race aspect of the campaign and ignore writing about issues. Issues after all are so mind numbing. Issues can be complex, in fact they usually are complex. Issues have advocates on all sides which complain about whatever you write. Writing about issues also requires thinking up a narrative, then doing the research to support that narrative – or at least that seems to be the process our journalism schools are teaching these days.
So, our Big Media friends, for a time, were happy to trot about the country like newborn colts, writing about the presidential campaigns. Then, trouble.
It turns out campaigns are exhausting. Every day candidates like Hillary are flying from city to city, from state to state, from event to event, giving speeches and speaking with voters. Big Media gets tired, then exhausted, then whiny, then petulant, then downright angry at all this work. What to do? Solution: dig up some voters who will say the voters are tired and write about that. Problem solved.
“So do you have campaign fatigue yet? If so, contact your local political reporter immediately.
The New York Times carried a story Monday featuring voters from across the country, including Iowa, who are lamenting the unprecedented early intensity of the presidential race. It’s just the latest in a string of stories and commentaries exploring the idea that “too much, too soon” is not a good thing for voters.
On the other hand, as the article also asserts, interest in the election is high. Iowans are showing up in droves for campaign events, especially enthusiastic Democrats who like their chances in November 2008. There really is a palpable sense here that the election at hand is a crucial one deserving of extra time and closer scrutiny.
So which is it, an excruciatingly long, mind-numbing march or a judicious, necessary marathon that tests the mettle of candidates who want to be the nation’s leader at a critical moment? There are good arguments on both sides.”
As the Quad City Times noted, it was the New York Times that sounded the lunch bell for reporters. Yes, Adam Nagourney’s article notes the high level of voter interest in this election. The article also notes that voters understand the importance of this election. However, let’s also understand that this is usually how Big Media begins its “bored” routine.
The “bored” routine and blame the voter syndrome is best exemplified at the New York Times by the troubled Patrick Healy. Healy, in Paris (France, not Texas), overcame his exhaustion with Iowans by interviewing Parisians. Healy, still pretends that Americans are bored with this election in general and with Hillary in particular. Oh, but those Kerry loving French, they do love that Hillary.
I left the Iowa campaign trail last Thursday and headed further east, to Paris, where I’ve definitely encountered more how’s-Hillary-doing questions than I expected – from not only friends but complete strangers, ex-pats and locals and Europeans alike.
You tell someone here that you write about Mrs. Clinton and their eyes tend to light up rather than glaze over. The seemingly epic (and epically long) 2008 presidential campaign actually gets people’s blood boiling in cafes and bars in Paris, instead of inducing Valium-like torpor that I’ve seen out and about in Manhattan. (Then again, talking about the Hugo Boss sale on the Champs Elysees can also consume real minutes.
Our apologies to the French but reporters like Healy should stay in Paris. Let them drink bottles of champs on the Champs. They can amuse the French, expats and other Europeans with tales of bored Americans. Let them misinform the continentals. But leave us alone. Americans under Bush are downtrodden enough.
Americans are not bored. We are angry.