Political Animal


October 10, 2012 2:30 PM When Political Journalism Wasn’t An Echo Chamber

By Ed Kilgore

American political journalism hasn’t exactly showered itself with glory lately. The snail’s-eye-view treatment of elections as tactical battles revolving around “game-changing” events and polls rather than as national decisions on public policy has been especially evident this last week.

But truly searching political journalism has long been rare. And that’s why the Washington Monthly has commissioned a film about its remarkable founder and his vision of journalism aimed at making government work, and training a generation of journalists determined to look below the surface of daily events.

How Washington Really Works: The Life and Times of Charlie Peters is near completion, but we need your help in deferring the costs. Check out the trailer, and contribute a few ducats if you can (and get some nice perks!). Charlie’s legacy is well worth preserving, particularly at this difficult juncture where journalism all too often has traded insight for volume and the bargain-basement efficiency of hype.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Neil B on October 10, 2012 4:47 PM:

    Yes, Ed. The recent awarding of a "win" to Mitt Romney based on superficial appearances instead of honesty and credibility was a disgraceful chapter in the history of ever-descending American "journalism." Even the desultory "fact-checking" was an outrageous joke, such as the CNN clown saying "if we take Rommey at his word ..." (noted in the blogosphere: yeah, if you take someone at their word, then you aren't fact-checking, idiot!) Even beauty queen Dianne Sawyer got into the flab act by triumphantly looking up Myth R-Money's pdf of his "plan" to point out - oh, he does say it won't cost yadda! See, take that, Obama! - ! Well at least some commentators didn't drink the alpha-baboon kool-aid, for example Juan Williams on Fox of all places:
    Juan Williams on the debate

    I see similar sentiments in Salt Lake City Tribune, again "of all places."

    I think it's time for us to realize that such travesties aren't mere incompetence, but reflect a calculated drive by the media owners to either 1. give the win to Mitt so they can have more money, or 2. put Obama against the wall so he would need to make more concessions to get their votes anyway. Yes, pulling big money from politics would be a major step, but breaking up the media (and other FWIW) conglomerates is equally necessary for a democratic (yes, small d to start with) America.