Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blogger: Media complicit in political games

On Monday, Foreign Policy.com blogger David Rothkopf posted a declaration of independence from his former political party affiliation. In the post entitled "Why I Am No Longer A Democrat" Rothkopf decries the inefficient governance of America's two-party system. The parties, he says are no longer the best way to organize the various interest groups that make up the voting public. In fact, he says they are a hindrance.

Complicit, Rothkopf writes, in this broken system is the media. What is wrong with the coverage is this: "It's all about the game of politics and not at all about the business of governing." This he writes, puts politicians in permanent campaign mode, diverting much of their energies away from practical legislating. Rothkopf writes, "The media's obsession with daily polls and who's in and who's out and the cage match aspects of politics, has also unsurprisingly made it impossible (in a time of shrinking news department resources) to cover what should be covered."

I say amen to all of these comments.

The idea of reporting on politics as a contest, a sort of sporting event, plays into the meaner instincts of public nature. Affiliation becomes religion. Deviation from ideology - the audacity of compromise - becomes defeat. And no one likes a loser. The divisive zero-sum political power struggle that is touted by our politicians is a losing game for governance. Our media outlets should not honor it with a play-by-play.

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