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March 26, 2008

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David Foster Wallace has an excellent essay, available in one of his collections, about his stint as a reporter (on assignment for Rolling Stone) covering John Mccain's 2000 primary campaign. It paints a very revealing picture of the frustrations of being a political reporter today - two particularly interesting ideas he discusses are the near impossibility of separating hype from reality [ even the most human and seemingly impromptu moments on the trail are constantly suspected of being orchestrated by campaigns ] and the advantages establishment candidates reap by going "negative" - because overly negative campaigns tend to dissuade new voters from becoming involved in the process, and new voters are substantially more likely to vote for the non-establishment candidate.

I believe the essay is titled "Up, Simba."

Even public radio--I can barely listen to it anymore. There's such a strain to find reasons to talk about Barack and Hillary. And Bill Richardson's gotten more coverage now that he endorsed Obama than he ever did when he was campaigning. How is that democratic--the media crowned the nominees with their coverage time and the word "frontrunner" even before elections were had.

That's one prediction they got right, I guess. They created the reality.

Any suggestions of reporters we should be watching and rooting for this election-year?

Gosh, I'm not sure about particular names of people who are officially on the "campaign trail." But I do perk up when Farai Chideya talks about election stuff on NPR's News and Notes. Same with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! But neither of them are "on the bus."

Who do you like?

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