: 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.

  • john lynch

    I want to know why the media, specifically AP, runs a story about every Bush television ad. The story starts with a description of the ad, then casts doubts about the accuracy of the ad, and lastly allows some democraratic official or the Kerry campaign to respond. This is a way for Kerry to rebut the ads without having to pay for his own. I never see any coverage of a Kerry ad.
    Also, the 2000 campaign practice of never running a good picture of George Bush is continuing. AP will not show a picture that makes the president lookl good. They all show a goofy chief executive.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    John, at least at the moment it may be because Kerry isn’t running any ads. They’re down to the last couple million, and they’ve got payrolls to make.
    They promise to get another $10 mil next week in a bunch of fund-raisers, but I wonder if the “money poll” isn’t turning against Kerry.