I think Dan Walters has an excellent grasp of our modern, TV-mediated political environment. He says:
Television rarely covers the substance of politics, but lavishes attention on the gamesmanship involved. The seemingly countless talking-head programs on cable channels are obsessed with who’s up and who’s down, and why, among the political players but rarely focus on legislation or other forms of political policy in real-world terms.
Walters is not charting new territory here when he says that this media environment has two “erosive effects”: 1- It trivializes governance, and 2- It discourages participation. But he adds a forceful voice to what’s become a distant cry.
That brings me to a question: Am I complicit because I focus some of my efforts on presidential campaign coverage? Yes and no. I am not journalist. You do not read this blog to discover the news of the day. Instead, I am an academic who comments on the news of the day. Or, to put a finer point on it, I comment on the structure of the news of the day and the interaction between the press and politics. I do not provide horse-race coverage. I critique it. I do not trivialize governance. I consider the language issues that create it. I tell myself this whenever I read a column such as the one Walters wrote. (via Cut on the Bias)