Presidential campaigns suck

Ugh. I turned on the Today Show briefly this morning and they were discussing the 2008 presidential campaign. The first primary/caucus is more than a year away, and it’s already starting to dominate the news. Ross Perot’s giant sucking sound now reflects the media getting sucked into following around Hillary, Barack, Al, Rudy, a couple of Johns, and a few others. The media sucks up to the early favorites, while the dark horses suck up to the media.

All of this sucking takes away time from the media actually covering real news. I’m not saying Hillary’s announcement shouldn’t get any press at all, but showing the talking heads blab about all the picayune details (is picayune the right word?) involved in forming an exploratory committee and what that all means, and who has the inside edge in Iowa or South Carolina or wherever is just a phenomenal waste of time.

This is personal for me. I started running for Congress (NY’s 21st district) in May of 2003. I deliberately limited my campaigning to one smaller area (Fulton County) to get an early sense of how it was going to go.

The local paper there, the Leader Herald, refused to cover the fact that I was campaigning there. I do understand it’s not my paper, but they’d have two or three front-page articles a week about the Democratic hopefuls and their misadventures in Iowa and New Hampshire. Dennis Kucinich got substantial coverage for his efforts 1000 miles away. I was campaigned in Fulton County for three solid months. I went to events, ran ads (both on radio and 5x/week in the Leader Herald itself) and so on. There I was, running a real campaign, right there. But nothing I did got the slightest coverage. Not a single word.

So maybe that sucking sound I’m hearing is just the media itself. This is one of the reasons I watch almost no TV news. I mostly read the Wall Street Journal and the Economist. Plus the Metroland. We get the Sunday Times Union, but I often don’t get to it and occasionally read a few sections. There’s so much more meat in the Journal. Yes, they do mention the presidential campaign once in a while, but they seem to know that it’s mostly not news yet.

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