Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Fair Way to Report

The non-coverage of Ron Paul, and now the coverage of Ron Paul, give me an example of how badly the press reports on candidates. Here is my recipe for a fair, interesting, informative way to cover a candidate
  • Do your homework first--know the candidate's policy positions, their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Let the candidate present their positions and their strengths. Give them a fair chance to do this without interrupting with gotcha questions.
  • Follow-up on the policy weaknesses and professional/leadership weaknesses. Revealing these weaknesses is an important task for the press because the candidate isn't going to do it himself, and opponents will tend to exaggerate.
So what was wrong with the coverage on Paul?
  • First no coverage.
  • Then coverage only as a no-hoper.
  • Then coverage only of the newsletter scandal. 
  • No reporting on his policy proposals.
  • No critique of his policy weaknesses.
The first and the last are the biggest failures of the press. On second thought, they are all failures, and I'm not sure which is the worst, especially considering that the press could easily do a better job. If only they would divert some of their resources away from repetition, celebrity reporting, and media frenzy, they would have many more half-decent stories on this at-least-moderately-important presidential race.

 The only guaranteed airtime for Paul

I critique Paul's general policy approach here and "sound money" ideas here.

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