by Jeremy Moule
Oh, the irony.
In a lengthy piece, a couple of writers for Politico are bemoaning the smallness of the 2012 presidential race, which they say is due to Twitter and the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week news cycle. Politico embodies aspects of what a Columbia Journalism Review article calls the "hamster wheel approach" to news. But at least the writers admit this:
"The endless news cycle, infused with partisanship thanks to cable news and coupled with the Internet-age imperative to produce faster, more provocative copy, has amplified every cynical and self-indulgent impulse of the political press -- POLITICO included."
But enough of my cynicism. The article is excellent for the points it makes, for the truth it contains, and for the fact that two respected political reporters - Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns - explain how the media and the candidates are shortchanging voters.
"The Obama and Romney campaigns spend all day strafing each other on Twitter, all while decrying the campaign's lack of serious ideas for a serious time," they write. "Yet at most junctures when they've had the opportunity to go big, they've chosen to go small. Obama has spoken in broad strokes about his accomplishments but has not yet outlined a detailed agenda for a second term. Romney has openly declared that he will not detail his policy proposals -- slashing the size of government, for example -- so as to avoid giving his opponents ammunition."
Voters deserve to know presidential candidates' positions and ideas. It shouldn't matter if that'll provide fodder for opponents. Disagreement and substantial debate are what big elections are about, or should be about.