Politicians and journalists are strange bedfellows indeed. Politicians and journalists depend upon each other for their jobs. Politicians depend on journalists to get their message out to the people. Journalists get much of their source material from politicians. People depend on journalists for fair, unbiased factual information. Journalists take the charge of the people seriously, considering themselves a watchdog of the political process.
This political season we have heard much about the candidates, and watched as reporters have tried to retain their non-partisan detachment. Trying to get a candidate or their surrogates to answer a question directly is difficult.
Reporters make one clumsy attempt after another to rephrase, restate, and re-frame questions over and over again. Asking about the latest challenge to the candidate, the reporter must sit calmly while the candidate or the surrogate spouts canned factually ambiguous rhetoric, explaining how what was said wasn’t really meant, because the person being run against is far worse.
Trying to get to the candidates position on issues such as taxes, trade, security and defense prove illusive, as the reporters are kept busy stumbling with continuous fact checking. Reporters must work with verified and cross checked facts, but not so the candidates. Candidates can say anything, in any way they want, because facts come second to feelings.
It has been painful to watch reporters fumble, stumble, and bumble along during interviews and debates. No matter how carefully a question is phrased, the candidate often goes another way, ignoring the question entirely. When the candidate can’t blame his standings in the polls on the opposition, the candidate blames the way the press does its job.
From this point on, I really don’t need to worry about it. As far as I am concerned the dye is cast. I have already cast my vote. I asked Hubby, can we stop watching CNN, NBC, Fox and other election coverage now? Hubby says we still have to watch.
I can’t help feeling bad for the reporters whose job it is to cover this story. I especially feel bad for serious publications I respect: The Post, and The New York Times.