The Boston Globe has an interesting info-graphic comparing the past two weeks’ worth of White House press corps briefing questions to #AskObama Twitter requests. It quantifies precisely the phenomenon James Fallows noted a long time ago — professional political reporters ask a lot of political process questions. Fully 24 percent of questions at briefings were about congressional negotiations as opposed to just two percent of the questions from Twitter.
This continued to reflect, in my view, the leading failure of the press. It’s not exactly that the man on the street is more substance-oriented than your average political journalist. It’s more that insofar as the man on the street wants to see some diverting entertainment, he’s probably watching a football game or The Real Housewives Of Atlanta. Ordinary people don’t care about politics all that much. But when they do decide to pay attention to politics, it’s because they’re worried about jobs or the environment or energy prices or taxes or something. It’s never because they’re wondering how the president reacted to Steny Hoyer’s remarks about Eric Cantor’s characterization of the Treasury secretary’s statement about the debt ceiling.