Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Policy: Ur makin a complete and utter hash of it

Despite some bumpiness, there's room for hope in this tale from the Obama campaign's visit to one of our old stomping grounds:

It was a rowdy crowd of several thousand at UNC Wilmington's Trask Coliseum. The group wore Obama T-shirts and stickers and knew all the applause lines.

He spoke for more than half an hour, then took questions for an hour more, discussing foreign policy, education and tax breaks for the poor.

Cool! An hour's worth of questions about substantive policy issues! Such as?

A young woman in the second tier of bleachers asked about her father, a textile worker who is suspicious about Obama's patriotism. What would the senator say to her dad?

Oh. Next?

In response to another question about his faith, Obama said no one should believe he is anything but Christian.

And that's just about that, except for the obligatory Real Person quote at the end. ("I love him. I'm charged by him. I think he's the best thing going for America.")

There are three main possibilities:
1) Reporter completely missed the summary points about the Q&A
2) Reporter ignored any stuff that was pertinent to the summary points in favor of irrelevant hectoring about flag pins, scary middle names and the like
3) Reporter (and editors) can't tell the difference

OK, maybe a fourth:
4) Copy was hijacked en route and replaced with clever forgery

But I doubt it.

Seriously. I'm generally a big advocate of the role of professional media in, if nothing else, mediating: putting out the resources to get a first-hand look at events, but passing them through at least some rudimentary positivist filter designed to ensure that what the audience gets corresponds (roughly) to what it needs. But some days it's harder than others to make a case for leaving journalism up to the pros. This is one.


Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Well, judging by the "debates" that stuff IS the important stuff. Scary, isn't it?

11:04 PM, April 30, 2008  

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