Add this to your file of what’s wrong with newspaper coverage of presidential campaigns.
Today the Times reported that Hillary Cliinton beat Barack Obama in fundraising — in dollars and people. But they had to get in digs against — that’s what they call balance, you see — and they did it in this bullshit paragraph:
Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raising success came even as some Democratic elected officials continue to have concerns about her electability and the possibility that a Clinton candidacy next November would drag down fellow candidates for Congressional and state races.
Name those Democratic elected officials, please. There’s nothing else in the story quoting these people. There are no links online to the stories that say that. There’s no particular reason given why that is relevant in this story. A lot of things are happening “even as” this is happening.
Now I’m trying to get away from blog-v-msm, but I do think that if a blogger wrote this same report, he would likely have said, “I’m still concerned about Hillary’s electablility. . . .” And that where this really came from: the reporter or editor wanting to throw in that dig, believing it’s balance or just not wanting to give Hillary a positive story. So they hide behind those phrases: “even as . . .” and “some officials have . . .”
And then there’s this sentence:
Few analysts or Democratic officials predicted it, and several of them said yesterday that there was new pressure on him — and another top contender, former Senator John Edwards — to compete more aggressively with Mrs. Clinton.
Well, duh. What does that tell us that we couldn’t quite easily figure out ourselves?
And in the end, of course, none of this is about issues or doing the job of president. It’s a horse race story.
: By the way, I wonder why this story was suitable for over-the-fold treatment on page one of the Times but I couldn’t find it on the home page online and it wasn’t even above the fold on the politics page.
: Oh and about that electability, see this from the latest Washington Post poll, which shows stunning results for Clinton:
Despite rivals’ efforts to portray her as too polarizing to win the general election, a clear majority of those surveyed, 57 percent, said Clinton is the Democratic candidate with the best chance on Nov. 4, 2008. The percentage saying Clinton has the best shot at winning is up 14 points since June. By contrast, 20 percent think Edwards is most electable and 16 percent think Obama is, numbers that represent a huge blow to the “electability” argument rivals have sought to use against her.