Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Political Interviews - should candidates expose themselves to the Mainstream Media?

The New York Times has an interesting article on Nevada Senate candidate Sharon Angle.  Ms. Angle has been around Nevada politics for a while.  She is opposing Harry Reid.  But she is refusing to talk to the "mainstream" media (MSM).   A local TV news person grumbles that they are having a lot of problems getting interviews from candidates. (She cannot remember when it has been so tough.)  Boo Hoo.

The Times story refers to Angle as a "tea party darling" I wonder how many times they have referred to her opponent as a "pimp for organized labor" of "the darling of the trial lawyers."   But the point of the story is the inability of the MSM to get into discussions and the highlighting of alternative proposals which the MSM regularly savages.

The Times suggests that Rand Paul's refusal to be interviewed on "Meet the Press" which the Times asserts is the "gold standard of political interviews" is indicative of something.  What is the market share of Meet the Press - why in the world should it be considered the Gold Standard of anything?   Meet the press, as a national show, gets something just over 2.5 million viewers a week.  That is hardly gold - especially for a candidate from Nevada where the market share is undoubtedly lower.

A couple of the reporters interviewed for the story freely admit that Harry Reid, who does meet them, is freely able to dodge a question.  Somehow his dodging is considered an art.

The story asserts that Ms. Angle has said in the past that the Environmental Protection Agency should be eliminated and that Social Security should be transitioned out.  Perhaps if some of those ideas were explored with objectivity it might liven the political debate.  But we hear from the MSM that such ideas are "third rails" in American politics.  No wonder candidates with different ideas flee from reporters.

There are plenty of alternative avenues to get an idea out into the public discourse.  Until the media understands its role is not to try to determine the acceptable levels of political discourse, they are likely to be less and less critical in national political debates.

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