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No Substance for Me!

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"No Substance for Me!"

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More whining about this same issue of the media and an inability to think about the issues. Adam Nagourney is talking about debates. He’s covered a lot of presidential debates. “And without exception, I have covered them the same way: Watching the proceedings on a television screen, and never mind that the candidates may be standing on a stage 30 feet away.” That’s because he sees his job as guessing how the exchange looked to voters at home (“the best way to report on a televised presidential debate is to write about what is shown on television . . .because that is how voters see it”) rather than to use his skills as a journalist to provide readers with additional context and information.

The most recent Democratic debate, though, “was written up for The Times, off television sets, byPatrick Healy in New York and Jeff Zeleny in Charleston” giving Nagourney an opportunity to do something other than play the role of amateur television critic. What did he do? Analysis of the issues? Research into the meaning of the Edwards-Obama exchange on health care mandates? Catch up on his favorite TV shows? Take a nap? Read a book? No! He, watched the debate live and in person. And what did he glean from this experience? A whole different set of trivial observations that even he refers to as “fluff.” You’ll be glad to learn, for example, that Hillary Clinton “DID stand out in that sea of dark suits wearing that (sorry) eye-catching coral jacket.” Fascinating.

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