Fantastic commentary by George Packer in the New Yorker about political journalism during the primary season. I’ve been thinking about the vapid entertainment quality of American campaigning a lot these last few months, and wondering both how it looks to the country’s present and future challengers, and what the impact of the emptiness of our discourse may ultimate be on our direction and destiny?
“In the tenth paragraph of a page A15Â TimesÂ piece, Rick Santorum accuses Barack Obama of engaging in â€œabsolutely un-American activities.â€ What are they? The article doesnâ€™t say. The quote appears without explanation or comment, in an article entitled â€œSantorumâ€™s Challenge: Broaden His Appeal Beyond Evangelical Christians.â€ Nor does the line show up anywhere else on the Webâ€”apparently no reporter in the mob following the candidates through the last days before the Iowa caucuses thought it worth writing down, and no blogger thought it worth repeating. It was just a throwaway line, a hunk of spoiled red meat tossed at the crowd in a Sioux City coffee shop, no more newsworthy than saying, â€œItâ€™s a great day to be an Iowan!â€