: Jay Rosen rants against “strategy news.”
I would not say it’s their motivation (although some would) but it is definitely a consequence of their method: journalists doing strategy stories get to be more evaluative, more like critics at a performance. They can bring in more knowledge on their own authority, and show how well they understand the game. They are “allowed” more room by their own codes
These are the seductions of the form, which gets the journalist to identify, not with the candidate, but with the theatre of strategy itself, where there is an audience of cognoscenti, and the players discuss with that audience the bamboozlement of another, larger audience–the voters–who are outside the theatre, a “them,” not an us.
It comes out of the press’ desire to seem inside and ahead even if it’s not substance they’re reporting.
It’s also a part of the tiresome sermonizing formula of news coverage. A good sermon, the saw says, follows a standard structure: it tells ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, then tells ‘em, then tells ‘em what you’ve told ‘em.
News coverage, by comparison, wants to tell you what’s going to happen and then tell you it’s happening and then tell you it happened — making news repetitive, predictable, and dull… and not necessarily informative. I remember when Bush announced his space plan we were buried in previews, then reports, then analyses. The story dragged out for two weeks when it should have lasted two days.
Campaigns take that sermonizing structure and add big buckets of bull.