Monday, November 15, 2004

Election Lessons

A few points spring to mind after the presidential elections of this month.

1.) Horse race coverage has sped up, but its importance dropped. I followed every step of this thing, from the primaries to the summer and into the fall. All the horse race knowledge in the world didn't affect the result. The election seems to have been decided by long-swirling forces.

2.) The echo chamber endangers online readers. We can become wrapped up in blogs and other assorted political sites that tell us exactly what we want to hear. Even an "objective" political journalist could find backing for whatever scroop he or she wanted to write. The problem? We lose a sense of who voters actually support.

3.) CBS News needs to -- oh, forget it.

4.) Let's not jump the gun afterward. Folks tried to attribute Bush's win to "values voters," but that theory evaporated within a few days. Many did vote on "values," of course, but that's not unusual. Fears about terrorism and leadership ended up pushing many toward the incumbent.

5.) The news media still has a job to do. Reporting accurately about the current administration or its challenger doesn't mean we're unpatriotic. Disseminating such information is the essence of patriotism. Political operatives would have the public believe otherwise. They're wrong.