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Fix Pick: Gene Weingarten and the 24-Hour News Cycle

About six weeks ago, Gene Weingarten asked to sit down with The Fix for a chat. Having long admired Gene's writing for The Washington Post Magazine (and his infamous live online discussion), I readily agreed.

Weingarten, it turned out, was planning a 24-hour marathon of political piggery. That is, he was going to entomb himself in a room at washingtonpost.com for an entire day and night, surrounded only by televisions, radio and the Internet.

The result of his long day is the cover story in this past weekend's issue of the magazine. (You can also watch Gene's suffering here.)

While Gene's goal in the piece was primarily to poke fun at the "pundustry" (a wonderful word that he invented), there is much wisdom about the state of news and politics in his story. Take, for example, Gene's analysis of the way in which the news business has been transformed by the 24-hour TV and the Web:

"There are too many voices, competing too hard, fighting for attention, ranting, redundant, random. The dissemination of fact and opinion is no longer the sole province of people and institutions with the money to buy network monopolies or ink by the ton, as it was a half-century ago when information was delivered to us, for better or worse, like the latest 1950s-era cigarette: filtered, for an illusion of safety. Now, all is out of control. Everyone with a computer is a potential pundit; anyone with a video camera can be on a screen."

The Fix, which happened to be one of Gene's regular stops on his 24-hour Web/TV/radio adventure, is firmly planted in the new world of journalism. A world in which instantaneous political analysis is being offered in various formats and disseminated across every available medium.

The empowering nature of technology is clear: It's no longer just a few media outlets providing news and information to the masses; any person with an interest in a topic (or topics) can function as a reporter.

But there is a hard truth in Gene's piece. The reality is that the proliferation of blogs, cable television and talk radio means that every jot and tittle of the presidential campaign is turned into a BIG deal. Purveyors of politics information and the junkies they feed become hyperfocused on every detail. On might argue that this is not necessarily a bad thing -- that the more people paying attention to politics in this country, the better. The problem with that approach, however, is that it becomes harder and harder to extract what truly matters in a campaign from what doesn't.

Things move so quickly that by the time an average consumer of news realizes a speech has been given or an ad has been run, the pundustry has moved on to the next thing.

Writes Weingarten in a Monday chat on his article:

"The problem is that we are on a 24-7 news cycle. You can't just keep reporting the news. At nine a.m, we are told Richardson backs Obama.

In the old days, that was the day's news.

Now at 11 a.m. we need speculation on whether this endorsement will help with Hispanics.

By 1, we need to know how the endorsement happened, and to speculate on whether this means Richardson is a lock for veep.

By 3, it's time to examine that Hispanic voting block, and figure out if it is monolithic, or whether this endorsement will have only a limited effect on the constituency.

By 5 this is old news. The real speculation is whether Hillary has lost her hold on party regulars to a degree that she could have lost control of Richardson, and does that mean she is slipping with the all-important superdelegates?

By 8 at night, someone starts realizing Gore is the only major player still without an endorsement.... "

Of the constant media scrum, Weingarten reflects: "It all feeds on itself; people are fighting for more distinctive voices, meaning more extreme and hysterical voices, meaning discourse becomes argument which becomes yelling. It's beyond simple partisanship."

Sound familiar?

The Fix is meant to be a community of people brought together by a mutual interest in politics. But, as any regular reader knows, the comments section often descends into name-calling instead of open debate on an issue or a strategy being employed by one campaign or the other.

Is that vitriol the inevitable result of the political and media world in which we currently live? And is it a good or a bad thing? The Fix wants hear your opinions -- measured and nuanced as always :) -- in the comments section below.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 25, 2008; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Fix Picks  
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Next: McCain Expands Campaign Media Team

Comments

Chris.

You ask one vague question and a second one requiring an opinion about the first. Sometimes, the MSM asks a stupid question and gets a stupid answer.

The 24-hour news cycle theory doesn't impress me much. The fact that newspapers, in an effort to compete with blogs, opened up their articles to comments, is more important. Instead of letters, the media now seek opinions on every item of news reported. Small wonder they get it.

The vitriol you speak of isn't just aimed at other commenters, but at the candidates first. And no candidate draws as much vitriol as Barack Obama. Rathr than chalking it up just to new media, how about making a distinction between comments aimed at policy and those aimed at personality. Some of the commenters draw their "facts" from extremist websites that refer to Muslims as "apes," confuse Barack Obama as a Muslim, go on to call him "Barack Hussein 'Osama' Obama," then charge him as a traitor using manufactured evidence. No wonder Obama supporters are fed up. I know I am.

More importantly, where is the Washington Post and other media in sorting fact from the fictions employed by the Radical Right? I see no spotlight on the cockroaches, so it seems your newspaper and others would rather stand back and say "Tsk, tsk" when the debate gets ugly rather than fulfill your watchdog functions.

Posted by: rippermccord | March 26, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

-The Fix is meant to be a community of people brought together by a mutual interest in politics. But, as any regular reader knows, the comments section often descends into name-calling instead of open debate on an issue or a strategy being employed by one campaign or the other.-

finally noticed whats going on in here then?

Posted by: jaymills1124 | March 25, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse


Many people vent their spleen online because they are`relatively anonymous. Road rage is a similar phenomenon gone out of control. As drivers safely encased in a metal exoskeleton, the poor bast*rd who inadvertently cut you off becomes an auto-terrorist trying to kill you and then hunt down your spouse and children to inflict a similar fate. So rage emerges when the supposed offender and offended exceed toxic testosterone limits, and a rigid middle digit escalates into real violence and carnage. But perhaps it is better to vent here with minimal chance of physical retribution, than to stay pis*ed off and go home to kick the dog, yell at the kid, and snarl the at-home spouse who has been anxiously awaiting some enjoyable stress free adult interaction.

Posted by: stevek2 | March 25, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

'IQ dropping like a rock. ' yeah, that started at 11:52. i noticed it too. happens about noon every day. coincidence?

Posted by: drindl | March 25, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

IQ dropping like a rock. LOUD and DUMB appears. coincidence?

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 25, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Like I said earlier, people's inability to debate instead of spitting vitriol is a constant problem. Stop name calling. Stick to the topic at hand.

Posted by: LarryL1 | March 25, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

rap song? You need to lay off the crack. Your fantasies about who I am and what I post are really weird.

Posted by: Spectator2 | March 25, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"What a sad piece of partisan garbage you are."

Spec, ditto buddy. I did like your anonymously posted Rap song, though.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 25, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised this blog has not yet been killed. Other formerly excellent sites such as CNN's chat rooms and the Yahoo message boards were eliminated by the hosts due to the vile postings of partisans (mostly rightwing but also some leftwing).

Posted by: Spectator2 | March 25, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

bondjarjar writes "Proud mounted a spirited defense a few weeks ago of Larry Craig, and presented dubious credentials when doing so."

Care to cite this "spirited defense" that you claim? Or "dubious credentials" I claim? I thought not. That would require too much effort on your part.

Easier for you to simply mischaracterize my post, the jist of which was that the constituents of a Craig or a Vitter are often the arbiter of their fates; if they feel under-represented, they can vote them out next time.

After being chastised by other libs last week for your homphobic attacks on me, you ought to reconsider your own motivations for obsessing about one passing reference to Larry Craig.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 25, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"Things were considerably worse when anonymous posting was allowed and drindl and spectator (aka loudonvoter/ loud and dumb) were known for daily anonymous ranting and expletive laced screeds directed at anybody with a differing point of view."

What a sad piece of partisan garbage you are.

Posted by: Spectator2 | March 25, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Mike - It's ironic you accused Chris of "pompous liberalism" when the whole point of the thread was to solicit the opinions of readers and posters of the Fix. It is a prime example of gratuitous criticism that I find so annoying on these forums.

Perhaps we could have the equivalent of dittos for posters: Dear Chris, Peter, Marc, etc. I think you're an untalented hack who merely parrots the spin of (insert your least favorite candidate; mainstream media; vast right wing conspiracy here).

BB

---

"For Chris to suggest otherwise is standard pompous liberalism. Let the elites think for everyone else, and figure out what's "important". [He went to Georgetown, after all. He's qualified to decide the news.]

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 25, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes indeed, that was an interesting article. I read a lot of articles and their commentary and I submit my own on a regular basis. I am always stunned at the level of inability to actually debate.

maybe I'm a giant weirdo. I find discussion fulfilling and interesting. I don't find myself on the left or right side of the fence in all cases. I may consider myself a Liberal in most areas but if there is a reasonable argument to be made from a conservative view, I will happily back that and agree to it.

The problem right now is that no one works for the greater good. No Democrat can back a Republican idea and no Republican can back a Democratic view. The torture debate is a fine example of something that no sane person can back. When the entire Republican block votes for something so outrageous, you know the system is broken.

By the People, for the People? There was a time when the government worked for the greater good. Today, government works for its own good, for marketing, for party ideals. Until something changes, it's what we will continue to see.

As for the mass and endless media, allowing partisan stations, the Rupert Murdoch ideal of Big Brother telling the masses what they should know is a huge problem. But I think the problem is people being unwilling to look around. I don't rely on one outlet for my information. I read and watch different sources. How many do that? I think that may be a sad statement all by itself.

Message control is one problem. Another is the drivel that people absorb daily. What is the percentage of 'news' people take in versus 'mindless drivel'? So called 'reality tv' is anything but real. And the dumbing down of the general public is a common goal of those who want control. Is that what we're up against here? Is that so difficult to believe?

Posted by: LarryL1 | March 25, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

There's a niche for all of this, but I'm increasingly doubtful that our always-on access to all this news makes us better informed or better citizens.
Posted by: novamatt | March 25, 2008 12:32 PM

I believe it depends on what we are doing with the access available that defines if we are better informed or better citizens.

For Instance:
If because we have 24/7 news more people are aware there is a presidential election; therefore, those people who wouldn't have been aware otherwise vote, than it is making someone a better citizen.

Posted by: jnoel002 | March 25, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

What's so funny about the quickening of the news cycle is that it's flattened the news. When news becomes a crawl on the bottom of the screen or a quick 15-second piece on WTOP or a clutch of headlines in a box on My Yahoo, everything becomes equally important (or, more accurately, unimportant). The important merges with the trivial, the really important looks the same as the merely important.

The news cycle has also shrunk the news. CNN and MSNBC has become little different from Headline News, which itself takes its cues from the loops you see on the Weather Channel or ESPN News. World news on the 5's! National news on the 8's! That doesn't leave much time at all for the kind of in-depth pieces a 24-hour news channel should have plenty of time to squeeze in. Viewers become news snackers, not diners.

Blogs competing for eyeballs have to point to stuff quickly, while the news is still fresh, without much in the way of perspective or analysis or even commentary of any kind. And it's all either extremely segmented ("this is a blog about (x) and (x) only") or overwhelming in scope (Instapundit, Daily Kos). There doesn't seem to be a lot in between.

There's a niche for all of this, but I'm increasingly doubtful that our always-on access to all this news makes us better informed or better citizens. The big Obama speech last week is a perfect example. The initial headlines from the major news outlets focused on how the speech failed to address whatever the big headline-grabbing concern of the previous news cycle was. Then, within the hour, as editors began thinking a little more about the speech and the kinds of conversations it was engendering, they altered the headlines to reflect this. A week later, we've all moved on or been dragged to the mix of the ephemeral and the serious that are today's big concerns -- Tuzla, Basra, housing prices, Sarko's wife in the buff. Obama's speech is maybe something we'll unpack on our own time, but we'll get no more help from the MSM concerning it, at least until something newsy happens that returns the spotlight to issues of race and the presidential race.

Posted by: novamatt | March 25, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I messpell on porpoise to fool the facesits. you're time is up. you only have the power I grant yew.

for the record, I never claimed to be smart, I only admit there is a lot I don't know. but there is one thing I do know. I know better what's good for me than you do.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 25, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm not on your list! How tragic :(

Posted by: thecrisis | March 25, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"Some of those that are personal favorites include: Drindl, Mark_in_Austin, Bsimon, Blarg, USMC_Mike, ProudtobeGOP,kingofzouk and loudonvoter.Please keep posting.."

The game: which of the above names is a sock/meat puppet for rdklingus?

Posted by: bondjedi | March 25, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin: I find your advocacy for those three admirable noble, if misplaced. leichtman is famous for crowing the latest Clinton spin, then when it is pointed out how dumb it sounds, flies off the handle.

USMC_Mike has the nasty neocon habit of picking and choosing from the "intelligence" smorgasbord re: Iraq, and also pitches a fit when called on it.

Proud mounted a spirited defense a few weeks ago of Larry Craig, and presented dubious credentials when doing so.

The one who gets called out needlessly is Zouk. He has an opposite point of view, but he/she presents it wittily and his/her position is consistent, and doesn't have to rely on a make-believe background to get a point across.

Posted by: bondjedi | March 25, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

As a "lurker" at the Fix, I am impressed by so many of the regular posters here who consistently offer their opinions, comment, analysis with their own unique voices. Their intelligence, writing ability, knowledge and wit offer me an insight that makes this a favorite place. Some of those that are personal favorites include: Drindl, Mark_in_Austin, Bsimon, Blarg, USMC_Mike, ProudtobeGOP,kingofzouk and loudonvoter.Please keep posting..

Posted by: rdklingus | March 25, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

We junkies are the fringe, not the mainstream, so perhaps we overestimate the influence of the 24/7 and the blogosphere?

Posted by: KenStein | March 25, 2008 11:44 AM

100% agree

Posted by: jnoel002 | March 25, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

zouk writes
"the pack of jackels is always hungry"

For someone who claims to be so smart, the ongoing misspelling of your favorite term for the opposing team seriously detracts from your message. Get it right, or give it up.

Posted by: bsimon | March 25, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

bondjedi, all three of the posters you cited are often rational and detailed in their posts. Leichtman is as serious as a dose of castor oil and too excited to spell check, but he does not initiate name calling.

Mike will engage on any issue - but if you call him names, he will not ignore you, but respond in kind. Just stay on point with Mike and you will learn a great deal about someone else's POV.

proud may sometimes start the food fights - I am not claiming she is an innocent. But she understands a great deal about health care in general, and military life as it is lived,and she reacts to persons who criticize the nation as opposed to persons who criticize policies, with scorn. That's understandable when you know where she is coming form.

I remember when JimD, bsimon, and I were all arguing in favor of a "diplomatic surge" - Baker/Hamilton enacted, or Biden/Gelb, to break through the deadlocks in Iraq and the ME. Proud was adamant that both proposals had too much in common with "cut-and-run". She was able to support that with information that went well beyond her personal opinion. After reading her sources and revisiting the ISG and Biden/Gelb, I still disagreed with her, but I had learned something. She also shares with bsimon the job of introducing me to pop culture that I would not get anywhere else, now that my kids are grown and out of the house.

They do not require my defense; I am volunteering FWIW.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 25, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"I believe that Gen Petreaus and Gen Odeirno will best assess when the remaining troops can be withdrawn in their own timeframe and in concert with Iraqi need, not some artificial timetable proposed by politicians seeking to mollify their electorate. "

Actually, its not clear that its their job to make that decision. That you think it is demonstrates the Bush administration's uncanny ability to pass the buck. If we go back to the Jan 2007 argument for the surge, the Bush administration proposed several metrics by which we would know whether or not the surge was working. These were all measures of political accomplishment by the Iraqi government. Since then, we've seen lowering levels of violence (back to 2005 levels, or therabouts) but little to no political progress. So first I would ask whether the surge is really working - given the lack of political progress. Secondly I would ask why Gen's Petraeus & Odierno are the decision makers regarding whether those metrics have been sufficiently met. Where's the President?

So when I say "then it must be time to bring our troops home" I'm mostly making a tongue-in-cheek comment. Its not time to bring our troops home, because the job is not done. Iraq is not capable of self-government, self-security or stability. If we pull out, it will implode. By that measure, the surge isn't working at all. Yes, the lessened violence is good news. Yes the lowered casualty rate for US troops is good news. But the reality is that our military's successes on the ground haven't occured in conjunction with Iraqi government political successess - which are a key component to our ability to claim victory & get the hell out of that godforsaken place.

Posted by: bsimon | March 25, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

As one of the new media journalists, posting political blogs and documentaries for MTV:

www.think.mtv.com/briantrich/

I have to say everything in this blog is accurate ... and totally depressing.

Correct - it's not so much a problem of having constant news but a problem of micromanaging that news and not just letting it happen. We don't have nightly news reports anymore. There are people posting YouTube videos at 3 a.m. that could potentially change the race to the White House. Some random 12-year-old kid in Nebraska could sift through the billions of YouTube videos, find something important, and with one email to CNN or Fox, it becomes the news cycle for a day, a week or a month. Look at how absurdly out-of-control the Wright controversy has become. It only seems huge because it's Barack Obama, and the media made it seem like he was invincible for months, so when one obscure video of something his former pastor said six months ago, everyone acts like it's a huge policy shift or campaign implosion or something. It is completely insane.

Right now we're in something resembling the dot-com bubble. Network-employed pundits and strategists have replaced actual news sources on television. This is their job - scour the Internet and find something to yack about - something to make into the next big scandal. Because scandals and drawn-out races equal millions and millions of extra viewers, which means millions more in ad revenue. It's quite simple.

But it's going to burst. Boiling point can only last so long - either the heat burns out or the water evaporates entirely. Eventually the blogosphere will die down - probably not until well after this election - and temporary projects like the one I'm doing with MTV will fade away and reincarnate in 2012 or 2016 with a new face and a new movement.

Posted by: thecrisis | March 25, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

not some artificial timetable proposed by politicians seeking to mollify their electorate.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 25, 2008 11:43 AM

Even better - mindless moonbats cutting and pasting without thought from Kos. the pack of jackels is always hungry for more bad news to blame on Bush.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 25, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Reminds me of "too many chiefs and not enough Indians."

There are too many opinion editors and not enough reporters. I chalk it up to journalistic laziness and lack of motivation. Wealth is obviously not good for a democracy.

There are so few good investigative articles and oh so many numb-a$$ opinions. The MSNBC Morning Joe/Hardball/Race WH/Countdown/Verdict is little less than political weather forecasting by the same ol inbred faces, sharing schoolyard gossip and playing nasty games of Tag. Pundits: a cacophonous symphony of parasitic political Salieris.

Faux News and CNN no better.

We long for some real reporters like we long for real food in our over=processed nation.

Morning rant over.

Posted by: wpost4112 | March 25, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

GOP, you've never contributed a single original idea AND YOU KNOW IT!!! Your posts can be broken down into two categories: apologizing for perverts like Craig, Vitter, and Foley; or half-assed swiftboating of the sort heard on Rush or championed by Coulter. After the lashings handed out to you in the last few weeks, you crawl into your spiderhole for a few days, then emboldened by the latest cowardly Ingraham slurs you crawl in here again.

Posted by: bondjedi | March 25, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

It depends on the meaning of the word "sniper" of course.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 25, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

A note on the 24/7 and the blogosphere: let's keep in mind that the regular population of the blogosphere and regular watchers of the 24/7 constitute a pretty small portion of the population. Most Americans still get their news from the network broadcasts, major newspapers, major news outlets. And they usually take it all in one dose, rather than continuously over the course of the day. We junkies are the fringe, not the mainstream, so perhaps we overestimate the influence of the 24/7 and the blogosphere?

Posted by: KenStein | March 25, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

IRAQI security forces are doing thier job, are acting as their own police force, and are replacing coalition forces in many areas.

bsimon writes "Sounds like its time for our troops to come home."

Here's an analogy to your proposal:

You watch as your newborn infant starts to stand up by himself while still holding on to that nearby support, still reaching for a hand every now and then, for instruction and guidance.

Then as you watch your 18-month old child begin to take the plunge and walk on his own, you run back and jerk the rug out from under his feet, watching him fall to the ground. He looks around in shock and dismay at the heartless betrayal and wonders why, why have you abandoned and undermined his efforts now in their fledgling moments?


I believe that Gen Petreaus and Gen Odeirno will best assess when the remaining troops can be withdrawn in their own timeframe and in concert with Iraqi need, not some artificial timetable proposed by politicians seeking to mollify their electorate.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 25, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

So Chris, are you ever going to get around to talking about how Clinton "misspoke" about dodging sniper fire? Seems like a topic worth exploring.

Posted by: fred_flintstone | March 25, 2008 11:37 AM

I am more interested in her Economic Policy of bailing out sub-prime mortages. She, of course, compared the Bear-Sterns situation to that of American families with sub-prime mortages. Erroneous!

Posted by: jnoel002 | March 25, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

So Chris, are you ever going to get around to talking about how Clinton "misspoke" about dodging sniper fire? Seems like a topic worth exploring.

Posted by: fred_flintstone | March 25, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I think some of the difficulty comes from the Medium of communication used. This "new" media has revolutionized the number of ways in which Americans communicate. The internet/blogs, etc. has made it possible to spread messages/stories faster and to more people than ever before(<---this we all know).

Just one Comm majors random thoughts:
However, what happens to the message when it is relayed in this way? How is it interpreted/received? I would postulate that Americans (or people in general) are not as effective at communicating using these methods. I believe over time (assuming the medium's continued usage and dominance) we would become better electronic communicators and some of the problems listed above would be solved.

Posted by: jnoel002 | March 25, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Boutan, the WaPo and Chris have proven responsive to specific suggestions about abusive posters in the past. If you have a specific repeating cut-and-pasting or name-calling abuser in mind, you should keep track and write to the WaPo directly.

The WaPo's previous major response was to force sign-in [last November] so that complete anonymity was no longer afforded. It may have done more, as some posters, like the infamous "che" who predated you, and who could take up a two page long scroll, no longer appear.
-------------------
Like dave and proud, I think it is apparent that the surge has produced positive results. But I am also among those who believe that the central government in Iraq may be part of the problem, and that without a diplomatic surge, the gains previously made will evaporate. Drindl may be repeating evidence that the gains are in fact evaporating before our eyes. Time will tell.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 25, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

' sock puppets, and people like USMC_Mike, ProudtobeGOP, and leichtman who mistake parroting the daily spin for insight and critical thinking.''

'(aka loudonvoter/ loud and dumb) '

case in point.

Posted by: drindl | March 25, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

It is interesting to see the comments section on The Fix for me because most people who comment at least have a little political "junkie" in them. So, we follow with great interest every misstep, misstatement, or association of the candidates. However, even with the 24-hour news cycle, this information is not really permeating a lot of the country. Just for kicks, I went into the comment section of an article in my local paper (Centre Daily Times). It's clear from some of the comments that news trickles down slowly for many people in my area. But the one thing that does rear its head is the vitriol that we often see here on The Fix.

Posted by: mnteng | March 25, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

bondjarjar, 'many avid readers' have been coming here a lot longer than you. Things were considerably worse when anonymous posting was allowed and drindl and spectator (aka loudonvoter/ loud and dumb) were known for daily anonymous ranting and expletive laced screeds directed at anybody with a differing point of view.

Come to think of it, you would probably have fit right in.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 25, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The irony of the 24-hour news cycle and instant blog technology is the phenomenon of politicians being held to different standards according to their perceived intellect and personal integrity. For example, a while back GW Bush stood in front of a file cabinet supposedly containing the government securities that comprise the Social Security trust fund and told the world that the securities might be valueless because "the people in Washington might decide not to pay". There was hardly a blip in the media (much less the markets) at this dangerously outrageous suggestion of a major default on U.S. securities by no less than the President of the United States. Of course, this is because no one paid any attention, knowing Bush didn't know what he was talking about and that he is given to irrational hyperbole.

But what if Alan Greenspan, Edward Kennedy, or even Barack Obama had made a similar suggestion? No doubt the media would launch into a frenzy at the suggestion of a default, and the markets -- particularly if the speaker had been Greenspan -- would have had a severe reaction.

Similarly, when John McCain specifically sought the political endorsements of clergymen who espouse outrageous and inflammatory views, it was largely dismissed something he had to do to reach out to part of the Republican base and not interpreted as reflecting McCain's personal views, even though McCain has refused to specifically refute those views. But the mere non-political association of Barack Obama with a clergyman who espouses similarly inflamatory views was met with great consternation by the public and the press despite Obama's specific rejection of those views. The difference? Because of his perceived intellect and integrity, simply more is expected of Obama.

It seems that in many ways it is a disadvantage in public life to be perceived as intelligent, much less as pricipled. Dumb and dishonest will let you skate on the tough issues.

Posted by: Stonecreek | March 25, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

As far as The Fix goes, many avid readers are game for discussion and nuance. Sadly, this paper's open door policy lets in Ctrl V mashers, sock puppets, and people like USMC_Mike, ProudtobeGOP, and leichtman who mistake parroting the daily spin for insight and critical thinking.

Posted by: bondjedi | March 25, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"IRAQI security forces are doing thier job, are acting as their own police force, and are replacing coalition forces in many areas."

Sounds like its time for our troops to come home.'

exactly. when i see troops coming home, and force levels being reduced, then i will see progress. until then, everything else is just propaganda and happy talk.

Posted by: drindl | March 25, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The vicious, never ending news cycle--and clever politicians' abilities to manipulate it--is also the subject of the new book, A Time Like This. It's a subject about which any thoughtful person should be concerned.

Posted by: trevorwynnewhitehouse | March 25, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"IRAQI security forces are doing thier job, are acting as their own police force, and are replacing coalition forces in many areas."


Sounds like its time for our troops to come home.

Posted by: bsimon | March 25, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"Meanwhile, Iraq security forces clashed with militias in Basra, a stronghold of the Mahdi army:"

Yes, you heard it right. IRAQI security forces are doing thier job, are acting as their own police force, and are replacing coalition forces in many areas. This is what is known as PROGRESS, drindl.

That is the plan, that is the Petreaus strategy coming to fruition.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 25, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

yes, dave, things are peachy in iraq. getting better every day!

'A cease-fire with Muqtada al Sadr and his loyalists in the Mahd army is showing signs of deterioration. The agreement, which has been critical to the improved security situation in Iraq, has shown signs of unraveling as his supporters shut down parts of Baghdad as part of a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience:

On Sunday, a barrage of at least 17 rockets hit the heavily fortified Green Zone and surrounding neighborhoods, where both the U.S. and Iraqi government headquarters are housed, according to police. Most of them were launched from the outskirts of Sadr City and Bayaa, both Mahdi Army-controlled neighborhoods.

On Monday, the Sadrists all but shut down the neighborhoods they control on the west bank of Baghdad. Gunmen went to stores and ordered them to close as militiamen stood in the streets. Mosques used their loudspeakers to urge people to come forward and join the protest.

Fliers were distributed with the Sadrists' three demands of the Iraqi government: to release detainees, stop targeting Sadrist members and apologize to the families and the tribal sheiks of the men.

Meanwhile, Iraq security forces clashed with militias in Basra, a stronghold of the Mahdi army:

Al-Sadr's headquarters in Najaf also ordered field commanders with his Mahdi Army militia to go on maximum alert and prepare "to strike the occupiers" -- a term used to describe U.S. forces -- and their Iraqi allies, a militia officer said.

In Basra, Iraqi soldiers and police battled Mahdi fighters for control of key neighborhoods in Iraq's second-largest city, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Police and hospital officials reported that at least 22 people had been killed and 58 wounded in the clashes. Iraqi authorities on Monday imposed an indefinite nighttime curfew on the city.'

Posted by: drindl | March 25, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Slow news day, eh CC?

Never fear, we junkies here at the Fix will never tire of the news cycle, the verbal jousting, the election year battles. We love it! Job security for the pundustry has never been higher.

But, after it's over we're really gonna need your help with the withdrawl, ok? >

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 25, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

'Fresh off his eighth Iraq visit, Sen. John McCain declared Monday that "we are succeeding" and said he wouldn't change course -- even as the U.S. death toll rose to 4,000 and the war entered its sixth year.'

FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!

Posted by: drindl | March 25, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

birddog writes
"Take Eugene Robinson of the Wa Po or MAureen Dowd of the NYT or O'Riely of Fox News for instance....... It is abundantly clear to even the causal observer that these folks are clearly partisan in their reporting "

Uh, birddog, Robinson and Dowd aren't reporters, they're editorialists. Their job is to write opinion articles. The clue is that their articles appear on the opinion pages - not in the sections dedicated to news. Neither pretends to be nonpartisan, nor should they. Same goes for Brooks (NYT token conservative), Krauthammer (WaPost neocon), Novak (syndicated conservative hack), and others.

Posted by: bsimon | March 25, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

drindl - "duh -- ya think? yes, bombs in classrooms. The Surge is working! Peace is breaking out all over Iraq!"

War - NOUN:
1) A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties.

Despite the fact that you seem to think that it's somehow surprising that in a war people are fighting and dying, that is actually the unfortunate norm. There has been less of that since The Surge began. One would think that people would be happy about that but for some reason The Surge seems to draw the ire of many. I can understand people believing we should pull out troops today (I think that's misguided but I can see their point), but I think one could still make the case we need to pull out without coming across like a fool trying to argue red is black (the surge has not worked).

Posted by: dave | March 25, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

one minute news cycle, two minute news cycle , one hour one day, one week, it doesn't matter Hillary and Bill Clinton are serail liars. Hillary can't look anyone in the ete when she spews her lies. She looks down to get her line to make sure the lie is right and then she starts to move her unseeing eyes in a scan across the audience, never stopping to look into anyone's eyes, because she is lying.Then the former liar in chief gets up there , gutless draft dodging coward that he is and starts assailing Obama for not being patriotic. He is so like Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. He praises the Republican candidate, both he and Hillary are very corrupt and all these men assail everyone else for being unpatriotic, but when it came to having to go to war and face combat action, they were all draft dodgers who ran the other way.

Posted by: majorteddy | March 25, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

First off, too many blogs have to much spamming on them and too many people who repeat without thinking about it whatever lies or misrepresentations suit what they are talking about.
More importantly, the 24/7 news cycle and the blogs seem to be forever caught in news that happened in the past but withough any ability to explain what the past means for the future. To note, Hillary's tendency to misrepresent and lie about things that can be fact check. The lies are less important than what they say about character, but we dont talk about that. Same for Obama and his minister.
Personally I would find it alot more interesting if there was more dissecting of what will be the real options for the next president, not just their policy dreams, esp on Iraq, the housing debacle, the Bear Stearns debacle, the sinking economy, etc etc instead of swallowing without criticism what is said on the stump - here I am thinking of Hillary's unrealistic plans to save the housing markets. They just wont happen. Finally there is about zero discussion about what composition of Congress we will likely have and how that will throw a wrench in the "plans" of any of the candidates.
Now all that would fill up 24/7 but people prefer to blather rather than face the music (ie. reality will catch up in the end)

Posted by: nclwtk | March 25, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

You know.....

One idea I heard from a commentator in this weeks issue of Time mag. that I thought may actually lower the level of vitrol amoung political pundints and their enablers (like myself), was for any media types who regularly write or reports on political matters, state upfront who they are supporting in the upcomming Presidential contest.....

I think much of the heat that is comming from the Presidential contest that is aimed at the media is because one faction or another feels as if a particular journalist is not being honest with his or her allience...

Take Eugene Robinson of the Wa Po or MAureen Dowd of the NYT or O'Riely of Fox News for instance....... It is abundantly clear to even the causal observer that these folks are clearly partisan in their reporting and all spend a great deal of their time either trashing the other guy or White Washing the faults of the person they are supporting....It is an insult to the intelligence of their listeners/readers for them to pretend that they are being balanced in their reporting...And only makes if harder to acknowledge any salient point that the commentator is able to present...

Now if reporters/journalists could only be upfront with their loyalties, it seems to me, that they could at least start a dialoge with their listeners/readers from a set point in a conversation....And perhaps a more give and take atmosphere could ensue amoung pundints and their enablers (us)....What Do you all think?

Posted by: Birddog08 | March 25, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The Post Mag and The Fix miss the point. Blogs and other forms of new media are not what get readers hyper-focused and amped up. In this election year, the behavioral changes stem from what a dirty fraud and liar Hillary Clinton is, and her nostalgic drones that behave like kamikazes.

Posted by: TheTruth | March 25, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps it is also worth commenting that this forums are only ever as good as the moderation that facilitates them.

Spam/slander/trolling... these are all things that inhibit proper discussion.

I humbly suggest that WaPo could do much better at deleting accounts of people who post stuff that breaches the guidelines. Yes, I know they will open new email accounts and thus get new posting accounts. And then WaPo should delete them again, until it becomes not worth their time.

It is not censorship to have facilitation of discussion. It is a positive step towards decent discourse. WaPo should never delete a poster for criticising an article (and I don't think they would)... but some of the trash we have to put up with could easily be moderated.

What do others think about the level of moderation this site receives?

Posted by: Boutan | March 25, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

'Although Bush didn't announce a decision about troop levels yesterday, there seems to be little question that he will accept Petraeus' recommendation for a "pause" in troop withdrawals. But hold on one second, apparently the word "pause" has fallen out of favor. In a somewhat amusing trip through Washington lexicon, the NYT notes that Petraeus specifically avoided using the term "pause," apparently because the word has become too politically charged, and is now referring to it as a period of "consolidation and evaluation."

Why not just make up a word, like Humpty Dumpty in 'Alice in Wonderland? 'words mean exactly what I want them to mean, no more, no less.' After all, we went down the rabbit hole 8 years ago and haven't come up since.

'The WSJ notes residents of Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad say armed militias have taken over rooms in schools and filled them with rockets, which could be a sign that they're preparing to carry out more attacks against the government.'

duh -- ya think? yes, bombs in classrooms. The Surge is working! Peace is breaking out all over Iraq!

Posted by: drindl | March 25, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Reid provides a lack of clarity unlike few others... Everything's under control says your Senate Majority Leader (thanks Lilly1):

"Question: Do you still think the Democratic race can be resolved before the convention?
Reid: Easy.

Q: How is that?
Reid: It will be done.

Q: It just will?
Reid: Yep.

Q: Magically?
Reid: No, it will be done. I had a conversation with Governor Dean (Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean) today. Things are being done.

And

"Michigan and Florida wouldn't play by the rules," Reid said. "They're not my rules. They're not the caucus' rules. They're DNC rules. They broke the rules."

"Michigan and Florida delegates are going to be seated. They're going to be a part of the convention," he said. "It's a question of whether anything can be worked out to change this prior to the 2,025.

"They're the ones causing all the problems. No one else did. And so they will be seated. They're big states. They represent 29 million people. We want to make sure their delegates are part of the convention that takes place in Denver."

Posted by: dave | March 25, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

And, then, when someone like Harry Reid says something that might actually be important
http://www.lvrj.com/news/16948521.html
It is totally ignored.

Posted by: Lilly1 | March 25, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"Clinton characterized the episode as a "misstatement" and a "minor blip.""

I think Al Frankin needs to update his "Liars" book.

Posted by: dave | March 25, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone tell for just how long is a news story "breaking"? It seems that the CNN standard is at least two days.

Last night, for example, Anderson Cooper announced the "breaking" story of Clinton's Tuzla lies, even though the story had already been covered by everyone for the last couple of days.

It's difficult, I know, to fit two hours of news into 24 hours of coverage.

Posted by: chrisbmyh | March 25, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"Is that vitriol the inevitable result of the political and media world in which we currently live? And is it a good or a bad thing?"

The vitriol is neither good nor bad. It just is. Even then, it is not permanent; there are some great days at The Fix when the comments section is largely unpolluted by those whom are uninterested in a genuine back and forth exchange of ideas. Of course I'd prefer to see more of those days & fewer bickerfests, but people being what they are, such dreams are perhaps unrealistic.

Posted by: bsimon | March 25, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I thought for a while what I wanted to say on this topic but then figured this cycle was over and anything I had to say would be old news. But risking that, I will say that I love the 24 hour news cycle. I have since the day I got cable and was able to watch CNN. I think that a couple things come into play concerning the vitriol. The first and foremost is the anonymous factor - it is much easier to "say what you really think" when you are not looking at that person (and vice versa). The second is laziness. As most of us have not careered in or studied punditry, many have not fully developed any of the critical thinking skills required for this (or just plain have no skill set in this area). Since it is not our "job" and have no real motivating factor to do otherwise, we sometimes resort to "shortcuts" instead of developing new points or expanding on thoughts. But since the internet allows everyone to have their voices heard, we all get to experience this. Finally some people are just plain mean.

I can't tell you the last time I watched the network news or bought the WaPo and read it (although I do view many articles online). I will say that a lot of that is due to the lack of detail and the choice of topics that the MSM presents. I found myself getting ticked off at the Post for putting something that I thought was important on page 24 or Tom Brokaw giving me a 20 second update of the war in Iraq. With great power comes great responsibility. The internet provides each of us with great power. It is up to each of us to use it responsibly (meaning what we post as well as what we decide to read). And while we will invariably fail at this, it is immeasurably better than a few editors or producers deciding these things for us.

Posted by: dave | March 25, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the vitriol is nothing new in American politics. Give people a forum, particularly one in which they can hide behind an electronic wall and not show their faces, and they feel at liberty to vent their spleens. I wish people would refrain from personal attacks on others in the online community.

It all has an effect on the campaign and voters. For example, I think working-clas voters have an innate sense of struggle, an innate sense that they have been screwed by the powers that be within the system for years, an innate sense that people in power will always try to screw them, and therefore an innate mistrust of the falseness of Obama's message of idealism. For me, the Hillary-bashing bloggers just exemplify the hypocrisy of this message, in that the most partisan backers of Obama can't refrain from playing like Hillary (confrontational) instead of Barack (conciliatory).

Posted by: harlemboy | March 25, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

This is an interesting topic and Gene's article hits on a very good point. However, I beleive that this 'Pundistry' is just a growing pain of the communication revolution. Just like Talk radio in the 90s. Everyone said that talk radio would dominate the way people hear about politics. Well that may still be true for some on the far right, but it has mainly been replaced by blogs.

Now, one reason why I come here and not to Daily Kos or some other site is that I trust the Washington Post and CC to give me good honest reporting. I believe that they are held by a higher standard than the 'amateur pundit' you find on places like Kos (or all of us for that matter).

I guess my point is that these onslaught of pundits will naturally thin out and the more professional fact based guys (Chuck Todd or Andrea Mitchell for example) will rise above the obvious partisan blowholes (Carville and Novak I am looking at you here) and dominate the scene. However that process will take time so I expect it to happen in say four years or so, just in time for the next election.

Posted by: AndyR3 | March 25, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

A poster here had turned our attention to Weingarten's magazine story yesterday and it was as good as "halfie" suggested.

But your video, of a journalist who looks like the young Groucho, adds the missing ingredient.
---------------------
Mike and drindl, it should surprise no one that "moveon" took potshots at McC and at Petraeus, but it was a cheap shot for the NYT to write that McC did not have an affair as far as they knew. We discussed this at the time. Perhaps the point is that 24/7 news plus blogosphere has put pressure on the MSM to downgrade accuracy and judgment in order to compete with these purveyors of low standards.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 25, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"The New York Times leads, and the Washington Post off-leads, word that in a videoconference with the top commander in Iraq and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, President Bush was presented a plan that would put a stop to any further troop withdrawals after July. The news is hardly a surprise, but the NYT highlights that this would mean the number of troops in Iraq "would remain nearly the same through 2008 as at any time during five years of war."

Let's scream it at the top of our lungs now --- THE SURGE IS WORKING! THE SURGE IS WORKING!

and that's why our troops aren't coming home anytime in the forseeable future. just imagine if The Surge weren't working how much worse it would be!

Posted by: drindl | March 25, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

It IS very hard to see some of the absurd postings. Some people who post really are trying to stay the line.

I used to enjoy to read the Huffington Post, for example, but it has become a place of a battle and hyper headlines that can leave you over stimulated from too many hate-filled opinions on anyone or anything.

I come here for some relief of that.

Posted by: cyberaim | March 25, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

thanks boutan...

oh dear, sv reader. i don't think he/she is capable of much reflection.

Posted by: drindl | March 25, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Gene's piece is terrific. Look at the form he followed in the writing of the piece. At first, he is open-minded then he shifts into partisanship midway through as he starts to get tired. Then, he transcends partisanship and becomes paranoid delusional toward the end.

While it was obviously not written in real-time, it crsiply convey the devolution of community using his personal experience as a narrative device.

Posted by: halfie22 | March 25, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

'I always wondered how it could be that the NYT and moveon.org could partner up to slander an American Hero.

For Chris to suggest otherwise is standard pompous liberalism.'

still spouting the same tired 30-year old cliches, day in, day out. why not just replace yourself with a parrot or an endless limbaugh loop? because that's what you have instead of a thinking brain.

Posted by: drindl | March 25, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

drindl... it was a joke dude...

take it as a compliment... you were just the first regular poster who came to mind. and I thought svreader might take it personally... ;)

Posted by: Boutan | March 25, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

I believe that you and Gene are on to something.

We are all members of the pundustry now, albeit mostly unpaid.

But, who gets to decide what's a good critique and what's not so good? It almost all gets passed on, unfiltered, to an audience.

I guess the average ("typical") news consumer had better learn to pay attention and 'gulp' think.

Posted by: bmschumacher | March 25, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Rodham Clinton had the Democratic presidential campaign trail to herself, but the camp of vacationing rival Barack Obama challenged the former first lady on her claim to have landed in Bosnia 12 years ago under sniper fire.

Clinton characterized the episode as a "misstatement" and a "minor blip." Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a written statement Monday that her story "joins a growing list of instances in which Senator Clinton has exaggerated her role in foreign and domestic policy-making."


Oh, for the good old days [with the Clintons back in the White House.]

Posted by: USMC_Mike | March 25, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"It all feeds on itself; people are fighting for more distinctive voices, meaning more extreme and hysterical voices, meaning discourse becomes argument which becomes yelling. It's beyond simple partisanship."

I always wondered how it could be that the NYT and moveon.org could partner up to slander an American Hero.

Now it makes sense why Keith "sportscaster" Olbermann, joke that he is, is on TV.
(Did anyone see his sock puppets last week? Or were they popcicle sticks?)

---------------------------------------------
I like 24 hour news. If people can't discern what's important to them, they certainly don't need Dan Rather telling it to them.

For Chris to suggest otherwise is standard pompous liberalism. Let the elites think for everyone else, and figure out what's "important". [He went to Georgetown, after all. He's qualified to decide the news.]

Posted by: USMC_Mike | March 25, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Two comments - the line between "journalist" and "commentator" is increasingly being blurred and further muddled by ex-politicos (Stephenopoulous, Carville et al.) spouting a mix of fact and opinion which becomes difficult to tease apart. Second, increasingly, the source for information that most people use is also becoming marginalized as more people choose the print/internet/TV medium that further reinforces their point of view, which I think is the biggest danger of this process.

Posted by: gvenkatraman1 | March 25, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't check the WaPo website during the day for news. Instead, I wait for the paper the next morning and read that. This has a wonderful clarifying effect.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | March 25, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

The MSM (Main Stream Media) has it's place, as does the Internet in this election, as these statistics show us;

Obama vs Clinton vs McCain -
The Google Effect:

http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=76

Posted by: davidmwe | March 25, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

'I'd just like to say drindl is a pathetic loser.'

'But I also feel we should rise above pettiness in our interactions with one another, and try and engage in interesting political discourse.'

not trying very hard, are you?

Posted by: drindl | March 25, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Different blogs serve different audiences. I've gained useful information and insight from some blogs like, for example, Raising Kaine, which maintains a pretty decent standard of discussion. Some blogs gets so obnoxious that I just avoid them. Maybe over time people will learn more polity and courtesy.

Posted by: cjburke2 | March 25, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

"But, as any regular reader knows, the comments section often descends into name-calling instead of open debate on an issue or a strategy being employed by one campaign or the other.

Is that vitriol the inevitable result of the political and media world in which we currently live? And is it a good or a bad thing?
"

Dude, maybe .5% of your posters have ever been on a debate team. So we, in general, don't know what is right way to respond to others we will never see.

Everyone has a side when reading the issue at hand, and people don't come here to hear everyone's opinion and have an intelligent debate. They will think their opinions are right regardless of what other posters are saying.

So, as long as people can hide behind fake names and will never see these other posters in real life, they will act like A-Holes because this is the US of A and people think this is their right. Bloggers and posters from other nations don't behave like us unmannered Americans. Speaking in general, ofcourse (I know some of you try not to get caught up in the BS)

Posted by: 4thFloor | March 25, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse

The reality is this is what happens when you democratize something like the news yet you do not have informed and civil citizens to use that new empowerment. It is what long happened to American democracy, run by racists, sexists, religious zealots, win-at-all-costs partisans; you get little true debate or discourse, just the same regurgitation of talking points, untruths, name-calling and the occasional pithy comment. Its like the aristocracy (the mainstream media) has failed for the past 2 decades to maintain their credibility, so they have been overthrown by citizen journalists, but instead of a Thomas Jefferson, we got the guillotine as bloggers and commentators cannibalized each other in the hopes that someone, anyone will read their rant. My favorite saying for the new digital world is: "arguing with people on the internet is like the Special Olympics, even if you win, you're still a retard!"

Posted by: SinnedNoir | March 25, 2008 6:59 AM | Report abuse

I'd just like to say drindl is a pathetic loser.

Haha... jokes, jokes.

I think there are several good points here. But they are separate issues.

Firstly, the crazy news cycle definitely takes things to a more superficial level where mountains are made from molehills.

Secondly, the petty arguments are part of the nature of blogs and the like. Everyone can be an aggressive hero online, calling names etc etc... but it is hard to imagine someone being that rude to their friend over a beer if they disagreed on politics. Somehow, people seem to be carrying rage beneath the surface, and when it gets an opportunity to be vented - out it comes. And it is usually via a keyboard online.

So as a junkie, I love the fact there is a new article every hour.

But I also feel we should rise above pettiness in our interactions with one another, and try and engage in interesting political discourse.

Posted by: Boutan | March 25, 2008 6:58 AM | Report abuse

I quite enjoyed Gene's article. "I suffer so you won't have to." For political junkies, this has been an unending feast. By now, I'm suffering from a bit of indigestion. Perhaps an episode of American Idol will be just the thing to floss my brain.

Sadly, the postings all too often fall into one of three categories. (1) Screeds against one candidate or another, posted over and over again (and again and again...) on different threads. My Page Down key is getting worn out. (2) Claims that one particular writer is in the bag for a particular candidate (to pick one of the less unsavory ways in which it was put). (3) Personal attacks against posters, that usually follow postings from category 1.

That much having been said, it's quite interesting seeing the passion evoked by these candidates. I also have enjoyed postings by a number of the regular contributers. Props to Mark_in_Austin and USMC_Mike. Heck, even to Zouk and Krishnamurthy!

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 25, 2008 6:25 AM | Report abuse

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