Election ’08: Who’s Up? Who’s Down? Who Cares?

There’s Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Gore, McCain, Giuliani,
Huckabee, and, of course, Biden. Each day’s news cycle seems to
dissect the chances of a new contender for the 2008 presidential
race, or examine another state’s efforts to jockey for a better
position in the primaries. As political humorist Andy Borowitz
notes in his
Borowitz Report: ‘With politicians
throwing their hats in the ring at a torrid pace, by November of
2008 one out of every two Americans is expected to be running
for the nation’s highest office….’

Adding to the current bevy of coverage is the much touted
Beltway media outlet, the Politico. Launched last month, the
website, newspaper, and daily television show purports to cover the
backstories‘ behind DC politics. Writing for
the American Journalism Review, USA
Today
political reporter Kathy Kiely says the
Politico‘s publisher, Robert Allbritton, ‘is looming as a
bigger hero in the journalistic pantheon than First Amendment
author James Madison these days.’ The site includes a prominent
page devoted solely to ‘Politics ’08’ and an RSS (Really Simple
Syndication) web feed to keep readers continuously tuned in to new
developments in the election. Unfortunately for readers, according
to Gal Beckerman of
CJR Daily, the Politico is
currently, ‘devoid of any discussion of the substance of
politics.’ Instead, the website has opted to focus on the
‘hour-by-hour ticker of who’s up and who’s down.’

While such constant media coverage may not provide much in terms
of substance, it has provided excellent fodder for comics like
Borowitz and Jon Stewart. Daily Show correspondent
John Hodgman recently reported (video) on
the slew of states trying to bump their presidential primary
elections to earlier in the year. Hodgman deadpanned that the
‘perpetual campaign’ of modern politics serves the ‘secret cabal
of political power brokers’ who decide American elections. He
then clued in viewers to the two 2008 candidates: ‘Hillary
Clinton versus Pepsi.’

As
with any good satire
, there’s truth fueling the chuckles.
Nonstop coverage of the 2008 election takes focus away from the
actual business of government; a freshly elected Congress is, after
all, currently in session. ‘It seems as though journalists have
been promising forever to move political coverage beyond the horse
race,’ Beckerman laments, ‘and yet most days most political
coverage delivers little more than that.’

Go there >>
Will The Politico Foster More Horse Race
Coverage?

Go there too >>
Candidates to Outnumber Voters in ’08

And there >>
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Early Primary
Elections

Related Links:

Related Links from the Utne Reader
Archive:

Comments? Story tips?
Write a letter to the editor

Like this? Want more?Subscribe to
Utne Reader

UTNE
UTNE
In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.