Tuesday, January 27, 2004

A slander poll from the "objective" news media

According to Howard Kurtz's Media Notes column this afternoon, one the main exit polls asks the following question: "Regardless of how you voted today, do you think Howard Dean has the temperament to serve effectively as president?"

What the hell is that? How is that appropriate? How is that newsworthy as opposed to being a media effort to drum up a story line?

For years, the central and growing complaint about campaign coverage has focused on the tendency to analyze campaigns as horse races (who's ahead, who's gaining, strictly positional matters) over issue and content based coverage. One of the principal evils here has been the spread of polling. With a poll, any idiot can write a wire story without knowing two bits about the candidates. Now, we have polls being used to create the news, to serve as the sole source of news, and potentially derail a campaign. Incredible. Disheartening.


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