My "media" rant
- Several correspondents have asked off-list what was meant by my comment
(snarl) re: "the media" and presidential politics, embedded as it was in a
comment on The New Yorker editors' answer to Slate. I paste here, in case any
others were puzzled, this response to one of them.
> I guess it's an off-list topic, but I'm curious how you think the media haveThey've not "gone astray" on the issues; rather, they've made "the issues" a
> gone astray on the issues of the campaign.
single issue: what the voters do, or might, think, and how, or why, various
tricks of personality, preparation, style, etc., influence what the voters
think. The fraction of all media time spent on actual, analytical discussion
of issues is trivial. The issues of schooling, for example, have nothing to
do with how the voters will respond to 100,000 more teachers in America's
classrooms, or to new buidings, or the like, and nothing to do with whether
or not the in-state improvements of math scores by Texas minority kids are
real, nothing to do with "accountability" as either of the candidates defines
that. The issues have to do with how well or badly our kids do at learning
what they need to know (dreadfully!) and why; with incompetent teachers
(everybody knows that!); with critical cultural factors that affect what kids
do at home, and so on. The media discuss NOTHING of those matters and do not
ask the candidates the obvious questions. As to foreign policy, social
security, and -- especially -- "the environment," the situation is even worse.
That's the basis of my derogation of our information-age media and their role
in the politics of democracy.