The following excerpt comes from the beginning of a six part series on the press coverage of the 2004 Presidential Election. It looks like it will be an excellent critique. Read the rest at the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) Campaign Desk web site, CJR Campaign Desk: Archives
In a perfect world, the press would facilitate the spread of fact and block the proliferation of falsehoods. Alas, the American political system is plagued by a political media obsessed with strategy, attracted to the trivial, essentially too distracted to bother with the mundane details of fact and fiction. This year was no exception.
From day one, the campaign press showed a maddening unwillingness to brush up on the basic facts most important to Americans. Instead of bookmarking the slightly intimidating Bureau of Labor Statistics webpage, reporters hung on to and transcribed verbatim many of the loaded partisan talking points delivered by the candidates via email.