These Reporters Today . . .

Despite all the complaining, we're in a golden age of political and policy coverage.

Heidi Moore, a former reporter and editor for a variety of publications now working as a consultant, offers a brutal critique and some suggestions for those in the news media. They’re mostly wrong.

Ironically, as we shall see, it’s in the form of a Twitter thread.

The DC press corps obsessed over the Mueller hearing for weeks before it happened, frantically covered it while it was happening, and churned out thousands of pieces afterward analyzing what it all meant.

Okay . . .

I’m skeptical that, to the extent there’s a crisis in reporting, it magically appeared in 2015. But go on.

Okay, how so?

So, she’s on Twitter telling people to get off of Twitter. Properly curated, Twitter is an excellent means of getting up-to-date information. But, yes, it’s problematic if reporters are spending all their time on social media and not doing actual reporting.

Still, I’m skeptical. What is this “real evidence”? Certainly, there was a hive mind before Twitter. Remember Journolist? Modern communication technology simply enables people with common interests to be in constant touch in a way that wasn’t possible for previous generations.

I don’t know what a “valid US policy platform” is. But many US politicians and policymakers, up to and especially including the President of the United States, use Twitter to announce and marshall support for their policies. Yes, that’s marketing. But it’s not just marketing.

This is circular.

We had polling long before cable news. Remember “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”? Ditto horse race coverage, discussion of optics, etc.

And, either Twitter and other social media outlets are “distribution vectors” worthy of coverage or reporters should stay off of them. It can’t be both.

Here, I’m in agreement with Moore. And, yes, I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that what the elite group of wonks I follow on Twitter and read on various other platforms think is what America thinks. But she ultimately undermines this point; we’ll get to that shortly.

Presumably, it varies from outlet to outlet. There’s certainly no shortage of politics-as-advertising, horserace reporting. It’s been around as long as I can remember and I’m quite a bit older than Moore. But there’s more policy reporting than ever before. There’s more of it than I can possibly read, even in my narrow national security and defense niche, and I get paid to read it.

I’m not sure this is a rebuttable critique. How many centrists should get quoted in a story? What’s a centrist, anyway? Is Rahm Emanuel one?

But, sure, to the extent reporters are using too few sources—and the same ones over and over—it’s a problem. It’s been a problem on television networks for as long as I can remember. I’m not aware of it being a problem in top-drawer print outlets but it’s not one I’ve been looking for, either.

Again, this is a vague critique but one to which I’m sympathetic. I, too, would prefer that the mass debate on public policy issues be driven more by experts from a variety of viewpoints than by pols and partisans. But, again, this isn’t a phenomenon that began in 2015—or even 1985.

So, I call bullshit on this. I guarantee you that every young reporter for every major outlet has been trained to interview subjects and make phone calls. But, actually, email, texting, instant-messaging, direct-messaging, and the like are simply how most people under 40 communicate nowadays. And, frankly, even though I’m over 50, I much, much prefer that reporters contact me via one of those methods before attempting to reach me via telephone. Indeed, unless we have a pre-existing relationship, I’m going to be angry if they cold call me.

This is too broad a claim to analyze. Still, I agree that modern reporting tends to be less well-sourced than it was ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago. That’s not because These Reporters Today are lazy but because reporting budgets are much more meager than they used to be and the modern communications environment has incentivized getting the story up Right Now.

White House reporters, going back to Dan Rather and Sam Donaldson, hung around the White House press room. That didn’t preclude their also doing reporting.

Pick three random stories from the New York Times or Washington Post website. I guarantee you all of them cite multiple sources. Probably not ten or fifteen, but certainly more than two. But any reported piece—as opposed to the ones that are essentially transcriptions of press conferences or releases—will almost certainly involve having talked to multiple people on background. Just because the story doesn’t quote ten or fifteen people doesn’t mean he didn’t talk to them.

This one has me scratching my head.

So, reporters should rely on anecdotal evidence gleaned by talking to a few random yahoos for their reporting rather than data gathered by public opinion polling? And, in the one instance she cites where they actually did that they got it wrong? Wrong how? And how does she know?

I don’t have the resources to fly to San Francisco for this blog post. But I would note that Nancy Pelosi was re-elected eight months ago with 86.8% of the vote in her district. It’s true she got only 68.5% in the open primary but no other candidate achieved double digits. Were she widely hated, you’d think she could draw an AOC-type challenger.

That said, being Speaker of the House is an inherently polarizing job. It’s much, much harder when there’s a Republican Senate and President. So it wouldn’t shock me at all if many in her well-left-of-center district are frustrated by her relatively centrist politicking. But they seem to enjoy having the Speaker of the House as their representative.

The mathematics of every reporter adding a unique-to-themselves source every week notwithstanding, I’m with her here in principle.

This is too vague to critique. But if the goal is for everyone to have a unique take rather than reporting the same story, we’re going to see a massive increase in competitive behavior.

POLITICO is for political junkies, not just lobbyists and other insiders. Their coverage can indeed be shallow and gossipy. But, to the extent other outlets are seeking to get ordinary Americans interested in politics when there’s no election going on, they’re naturally going to adopt some of the same practices. And, indeed, POLITICO was founded by reporters from the Washington Post.

So, I have no idea whether the public is “served” by polls and horse race politics. But they’ve been part of news reporting as long as I can remember. Political junkies are fascinated by them and ordinary citizens are skipping past stories about politics most of the time.

We’ve largely nationalized political coverage. That’s quite possibly a bad thing but it’s longstanding. It was true in small-town Alabama twenty-plus years ago before the Internet became a significant vehicle for distribution, making it inevitable.

Local papers are dying off rapidly with little prospect for revival. Nobody has come up with a sustainable business model and, after all these years, I presume it’s because there simply isn’t sufficient appetite for local coverage to generate the revenue to pay for producing it.

They’re talking about optics because, as Steven Taylor and I have both argued, Mueller’s lousy presentation all but assured that Americans who hadn’t already absorbed the findings of his report would never do so.

There has been an enormous amount of high-quality reporting on the Russia investigation. It’s available in an incredible diversity of formats, approaches, and levels of detail. Hell, Susan Hennessey went to number one on the iTunes podcast rankings breaking the damn report down to people months after its initial release. It’s almost like presentation matters.

AOC has gotten far, far more coverage than her actual impact on policy has merited. There was no horse race coverage of her primary because we seldom cover primaries, let alone in what are presumed to be safe seats.

And I don’t know what the second complaint even means. There’s plenty of coverage of how various policy proposals would impact various sub-groups. But it’s all but irrelevant if the candidate in question isn’t viable.

Look, I’m a policy wonk. I think policy is pretty important! But, again, 1) most people don’t read policy stories because they find them boring and 2) there are so many policy stories out there that nobody could possibly read them all. Just the Times and the Post alone produce dozens on them every day and there’s a vast array of other outlets doing deep dives into niches. Again, just in the defense field alone there’s more being written than I have time to read.

Sigh. This is just a non-sequitur. There’s tons and tons and tons of coverage of the crisis at our border. It’s simply bizarre to expect coverage of the Mueller hearings and their impact to weigh in on it. Every story can’t and shouldn’t be about everything.

Pelosi earned a reputation over three-plus decades in public life. She’s managed to get elected Speaker multiple times because she’s competent and tough as nails. McConnell keeps getting elected Republican Leader because he gets things Republicans want (tax cuts and conservative judges, mostly) passed when he can and stops Democrats from doing, well, pretty much anything when he can’t. They’re both incredibly good at their jobs.

It’s beyond the scope of political reporters to do deep dives into our institutional arrangements but, goodness knows, there’s plenty of discussion of that topic to be had. OTB isn’t the only venue doing that.

Moore seems to think it’s the job of the DC press corps to advocate for policy change rather than report on politics and policy proposals being advocated by our elected representatives and candidates for office. But there’s tons and tons and tons of coverage on each of those issues. One merely has to look for it.

I’ve written quite a bit over the years of the downside of the modern media culture and its emphasis on being first rather than being right. But I fully get the pressures that push it in that direction. We’re living on Twitter Standard Time and there’s a tendency to engage in useless speculation to slake the appetite of anxious consumers.

Still, we’re living in a golden age of media. As much as we may lament the demise of venerable old newspapers and magazines, there’s a much better and wider array of coverage on any topic imaginable than at any time in human history. And most of it is available to us literally anywhere, anytime, free of charge.

I’ve already noted just how much quality news, analysis, and commentary exists in the defense and national security spheres. The same is true of every topic Moore mentioned and any that I’m interested in.

There’s never been a better time for women, persons of color, or LGBTQ individuals to be heard. Not only have the traditional outlets become radically more diversified but there are dozens if not hundreds of niche outlets.

Ditto every public policy topic you can imagine. Or hobby or pastime.

The new kids aren’t lazy. They’re not incompetent. They’re cranking out great content by the ton.

FILED UNDER: Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. SKI says:

    They’re talking about optics because, as Steven Taylor and I have both argued, Mueller’s lousy presentation all but assured that Americans who hadn’t already absorbed the findings of his report would never do so.

    This cuts against your conclusion that all is right with political journalism. If all was right, we wouldn’t be reliant on Mueller’s optics to convey accurate truthful information.

    I think that print journalism is, despite budget constraints, mostly fine (headlining issues aside). TV-based journalism, on the other hand, is basically non-existent. All that is covered is optics and the horse race. Almost no substance. This isn’t a new problem but it has consistently been getting worse.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    That Heidi Moore, whoever the heck she is, got her critique of journalism wrong is not evidence there aren’t problems. Moore focuses on reporters. Reporters don’t determine what gets covered or make business decisions.

    But when a third or more of the public believe utter nonsense, I think we have a problem. The problem with POLITICO isn’t that it’s shallow and gossipy, it’s that it was wall to wall Trump through 2016. The vacuity and conservative lean of the Sunday morning shows is legend, as is Chuck Todd’s horse race coverage. That everyone pushed the flawed economic anxiety angle is a fact. NYT and Maggie Haberman are still denying any issues with their access journalism. (Is her mother still working for the Kushners?) The Rs are going to try to do to the D nominee what they did with Hillary and the MSM are once again going to do deep dives down every rabbit hole. And of the major anglophone countries, Murdoch has spared only Canada.

  3. DrDaveT says:

    Three points:

    1. Just because Heidi Moore doesn’t get the diagnosis right doesn’t mean journalism isn’t sick.
    2. Twitter vs. email vs. phone vs. IM vs. carrier pigeon is a red herring. How reporters talk to each other isn’t the problem; what they say is the problem.
    3. Moore is 100% right about the absence of any discussion of how policies would actually change people’s lives in political reporting, especially TV reporting. All reporting is about which party will benefit, who looks better, who gains/loses in the polls. Who ‘wins’. The only people talking about real life consequences are the RWNJ propagandists, and they’re flat out lying. THIS is the crisis in political journalism.

    10
  4. Jay L Gischer says:

    Journalism is sick. It’s about money (which has mostly dried up) and fragmentation. Both of these are directly related to the existence of the internet.

    I remember reading stories in the 80’s about how CBS had reorganized and decided to make it’s News department responsible for profit/loss. (I think it was the 80’s). This, the piece said was the first step down a long road to a very bad place. I think that was right.

    These days so many news stories are driven by what will get clicks. That’s both responsible and responsive to business needs and completely irresponsible when it comes to news reporting. Of course, the position that reporters and editors are in includes a highly fickle audience who is mostly very happy to click on the latest clickbait. If clickbait didn’t work, we wouldn’t see so much of it.

  5. steve says:

    I think you are largely correct James, but it is still my general impression that present day journalism tends to emphasize speed, as you note, with the loss of in depth coverage of issues. There used to be news magazines and periodicals that covered stories in great depth. It seems to me as though the big newspapers used to all (or many) have their own investigative pieces that would cover stuff in detail. I think that you can still find those detailed pieces sometimes, but not through conventional, popular media.

    Steve

  6. gVOR08 says:

    @steve: I miss Time and Newsweek as they once were. But I have to say there is still in depth reporting. In 2016 NYT devoted huge resources to in depth reporting of HER EMAILS!! and her foundation. ‘A DONOR ASKED FOR A MEETING WITH THE SEC OF STATE and didn’t get one’ was a valid stereotype. As was 50 paragraphs on how big her foundation is and on how hypothetically it could be corrupt, with a mumbled ‘there’s no evidence of anything untoward’ buried in the 48th graph. Same with an encyclopedic history of her email finally concluding Comey had nothing and it’s a mystery why he had to say otherwise. And they’ll do it again next year. We’ll get a full length NY Magazine piece on the potential problems with Hunter Biden’s business dealings concluding in the third from last graph that they haven’t found anything bad. Yet.

  7. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    If all was right, we wouldn’t be reliant on Mueller’s optics to convey accurate truthful information.

    Most of what Mueller reported had long since been reported by numerous national outlets. Part of the problem was that the reporting was so good and steady that there was something of a boiling frog effect. And the report itself was just unsurprising, thus changing the minds of few.

    I think that print journalism is, despite budget constraints, mostly fine (headlining issues aside). TV-based journalism, on the other hand, is basically non-existent. All that is covered is optics and the horse race. Almost no substance. This isn’t a new problem but it has consistently been getting worse.

    I haven’t really watched much in the way of televised news in years. But Moore’s critique seems to be leveled at print outlets.

    @DrDaveT:

    The only people talking about real life consequences are the RWNJ propagandists, and they’re flat out lying. THIS is the crisis in political journalism.

    I just don’t think that’s right, at least in terms of print. Again, Moore’s commentary doesn’t seem to be directed at broadcast.

    @steve:

    There used to be news magazines and periodicals that covered stories in great depth. It seems to me as though the big newspapers used to all (or many) have their own investigative pieces that would cover stuff in detail. I think that you can still find those detailed pieces sometimes, but not through conventional, popular media.

    I think there’s much, much more longform coverage than ever. The problem is that it’s much more diffuse and specialized. There’s no modern equivalent of the Saturday Evening Post or even 1980s Time/Newsweek/US News.

    @gVOR08:

    In 2016 NYT devoted huge resources to in depth reporting of HER EMAILS!! and her foundation.

    I think those stories were largely covered correctly. I think the Foundation’s relationship with a sitting SECSTATE and potential future POTUS was legitimately highly problematic. What I think critics wanted was the press to weigh in more heavily with opinion—that Trump’s transgressions were far, far worse than hers. That’s not how they see their role. Still, that conclusion was certainly evident enough in the reporting that I, a lifetime Republican voter, was able to draw it months before the election.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    Any serious commentary that is ~ 4200 characters, should be presented as a blog post, not a series of tweets, if it wants to be taken seriously. I’d argue that the failure of political reporting is the over reliance of pithy comments masquerading reporting.

  9. Gustopher says:

    I’m not sure she’s wrong about reporters being on Twitter. People on Twitter begin to think that what other people on Twitter are tweeting about is what people in general care about. It helps shape the agenda. And we’ve learned that Twitter is often being manipulated with false accounts pushing fake nonsense.

    This results in journalists believing that Uranium One is a real scandal. Or the Clinton Foundation.

    And even in the best case, where it isn’t being manipulated, Twitter is really not representative of America as a whole.

    You might think that the problem is just that journalists should be exercising more discretion in what they report, but the constant exposure to bullshit changes their discretion.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner:

    What I think critics wanted was the press to weigh in more heavily with opinion

    I can’t speak for all critics, but no.

    If they’re going to obsess over potential problems at the Clinton Foundation I want them to look at the Trump Foundation, suspected at the time, and later proven to be corrupt. Instead their coverage seemed to be driven by the belief that Trump’s corruption was old news. I want them to recognize that most readers just skim stories and put the conclusion, in this case that they found nothing at the Clinton Foundation, clearly stated early in the story, where someone might actually see it.

    Drudge seems to be out of the picture but I want their coverage to not be driven by RW media. I want them to not steno Barr’s summary of the Mueller report and note that the validity of his summary should not have been taken for granted, as was pretty obvious.

    I don’t want them to take a side D v R, I want them to side with objective reality. Having criticized NYT, I am grateful for them as a bulwark of democracy. I worry someone like Adelson will buy them, in which case we could kiss democracy goodbye. And I want Democrats to somehow make NYT as afraid of criticism from the left as they are of the right.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    Speaking of the NYT, LGM today.
    STATISTICIANS ESTIMATE NEW YORK TIMES NEWS DESK TO ACCURATELY IDENTIFY DONALD TRUMP STATEMENT AS RACIST ON APRIL 1 3451
    IIRC they have a couple of times lately called deliberate false statements “lies”, so maybe they should get credit for baby steps.

  12. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08:

    I don’t want them to take a side D v R, I want them to side with objective reality.

    This. Which requires, as a prerequisite, taking a position that there is an objective reality out there, independent of what people are saying or who the general public tends to listen to more. And that human beings have tools for knowing what that objective reality is like.

  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Don’t got a dog in this particular fight, but I will note one thing–just my opinion, mind you. Your microparsing approach to her set of tweets seems deconstructive by nature. That may be your goal, I neither know nor care, but it’s may not be as illuminating as you imagine. There’s always the thought available that since Derrida knew (or at least believed) that all discourse fails because of it’s internal inconsistencies, why did he bother to write–knowing that his work would ultimately be part of “all.”

    Same thing applies here, I think. Break it into small enough pieces, any argument will dissolve, particularly large scale ones.

  14. Andy says:

    So, she’s on Twitter telling people to get off of Twitter. Properly curated, Twitter is an excellent means of getting up-to-date information. But, yes, it’s problematic if reporters are spending all their time on social media and not doing actual reporting.

    Who actually has a “properly curated” Twitter feed? And having a diverse feed is not enough because Twitter uses an algorithm, just like Facebook, to prioritize what you see. Twitter is not your friend and it is not looking to give you “properly curated” content – it is looking to do whatever it can to get you to spend more time using Twitter.

    Just a few days ago you wrote a post about how you were completely unaware until days afterward about the guy who attacked an immigrant detention center. Is your Twitter feed not properly curated, or did the Twitter algorithm decide not to serve that content to you?

    As for the effects of Twitter on the media businesses and reporting – especially political reporting – it is, in my view, terrible with little to redeem it. It is not good for the news business much less news consumers.

    We already know about Twitter and Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 election and the Twitter-obsessed media, all these years later, still learned nothing. How can anyone say the media is doing a good job after it spent so much time promoting Trump thanks to his Twitter feed?

    Additionally, the supposed top-tier newspapers like the NYT and Wapo regularly write multiple stories on inanities simply because they are trending on Twitter. The biggest example is that kid with the MAGA hat vs Native American activist in DC which spawned multiples stories (and multiple corrections of the same story). That was a total nothingburger, but several people get dragged through the mud and are subject to death threats – why? Because it was on Twitter, it was trending, it was dripping red meat, and these “professional” journalists jumped on it without really checking the facts much less considering whether this minor incident was at all newsworthy to begin with.

    There are many examples of similar stupid and inconsequential culture-war Twitter battles that become “news” stories in the nation’s most important newspapers for no good reason at all.

    Finally, if you look at politicians who are active on Twitter what you’ll find is that those who are the most active and have the most followers get more press coverage than those who don’t. That’s likely why AOC and the “squad” are in the news so much – their personal Twitter accounts (especially AOC) have more activity and followers than anyone else in Congress. Like Trump, they use their personal accounts to the exclusion of their official accounts. Are we really supposed to believe that the editorial decision to spend so much “news” space on AOC has nothing to do with her massive Twitter following?

    I don’t see how Twitter has done anything positive – on net- for political reporting. In fact, I think it’s a cancer that is only going to hasten the demise of the old establishment press as their political reporters (and even many niche reporters) chase the Twitter shiny.

    And even for the reporters who are really committed to true and accurate reporting, they still have to be on Twitter and are just as vulnerable as anyone else to what the algorithm gives them…assuming they have setup a “properly curated” feed.

    And politicians are learning. They see what Trump did with Twitter to get elected and how AOC punches way above her freshman weight in terms of influence simply because she’s so effective on the platform. How fun is it going to be when every politician is as good as they are and spends half their day snarking and “owning” political enemies? God help us.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    I remember reading stories in the 80’s about how CBS had reorganized and decided to make it’s News department responsible for profit/loss. (I think it was the 80’s). This, the piece said was the first step down a long road to a very bad place. I think that was right.

    The news divisions of the major networks have become Network

  16. steve says:

    “How fun is it going to be when every politician is as good as they are and spends half their day snarking and “owning” political enemies?”

    Amen to that!

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Andy: I agree with steve:. I don’t see eye to eye with you very often, but your comment on this is on point, succinct, and well stated. Nice comment.

  18. James Joyner says:

    @Andy:

    Who actually has a “properly curated” Twitter feed? And having a diverse feed is not enough because Twitter uses an algorithm, just like Facebook, to prioritize what you see. Twitter is not your friend and it is not looking to give you “properly curated” content – it is looking to do whatever it can to get you to spend more time using Twitter.

    I don’t actually consume Twitter via Twitter.com but rather via a series of lists I’ve put together on TweetDeck. The plus side is that I see everything that the people on the list tweet or retweet during the period of time I scroll down through. The negative is that I’ll miss tweets that are more than a few hours old.

    Just a few days ago you wrote a post about how you were completely unaware until days afterward about the guy who attacked an immigrant detention center. Is your Twitter feed not properly curated, or did the Twitter algorithm decide not to serve that content to you?

    My schedule has been really unusual the last few weeks—I’ve sold two houses, bought another one, am packing up to move, and have not only started a new academic year but taken over as department head. So, I’m consuming less news than normally. But I would have expected the folks on my NatSec list and Memeorandum, YahooNews, or Google News to serve that story up for more than 5 minutes.

    Additionally, the supposed top-tier newspapers like the NYT and Wapo regularly write multiple stories on inanities simply because they are trending on Twitter. The biggest example is that kid with the MAGA hat vs Native American activist in DC which spawned multiples stories (and multiple corrections of the same story). That was a total nothingburger, but several people get dragged through the mud and are subject to death threats – why? Because it was on Twitter, it was trending, it was dripping red meat, and these “professional” journalists jumped on it without really checking the facts much less considering whether this minor incident was at all newsworthy to begin with.

    Inane stories like that predated Twitter. But I do think Twitter has helped accelerate the trend that was on display with blogs before its arrival of making everything that happened yesterday “old news.”

    Finally, if you look at politicians who are active on Twitter what you’ll find is that those who are the most active and have the most followers get more press coverage than those who don’t. That’s likely why AOC and the “squad” are in the news so much – their personal Twitter accounts (especially AOC) have more activity and followers than anyone else in Congress. Like Trump, they use their personal accounts to the exclusion of their official accounts. Are we really supposed to believe that the editorial decision to spend so much “news” space on AOC has nothing to do with her massive Twitter following?

    This is a good point. Once again, though, I think it’s a matter of Twitter accelerating a trend. I recall during the 1992 campaign the lamenting/marveling at Bill Clinton’s ability to sidestep the traditional press by strategic appearances on niche outlets like Arsenio Hall and Don Imus. Others since have used talk radio, cable news, etc. to draw attention to themselves. But Twitter is another animal, entirely, in that it rewards snark and putdowns and other negative performance art.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: A fair point. Blogging has, since its early days, encouraged a technique known as Fisking—a paragraph-by-paragraph or line-by-line response to a piece. It’s even more natural for tweetstorms. But I think I’m being fair to her argument here. Most of what she calls out the print media for is either a longstanding issue that she imagines somehow started with the 2016 campaign or simply not true. A lot of it applies more to broadcast news, but that doesn’t seem to be her target.

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner: “… but taken over as department head.”

    As I used to say to colleagues in Korea who told me that, congratudolences!

    ETA: Please do not take my comments about deconstruction as a commentary about your motives. Deconstructive criticism is simply a tool, and I am merely cynical about how valuable a tool it is.

  20. James Joyner says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Thanks! More my turn in the barrel than a promotion but it’s an interesting new challenge. Especially since we’re shorthanded this semester and I’m doing double duty in the classroom.

  21. Andy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Thank you for the compliment, I really appreciate it!

    @James Joyner:

    Inane stories like that predated Twitter. But I do think Twitter has helped accelerate the trend that was on display with blogs before its arrival of making everything that happened yesterday “old news.”

    That’s true, but Twitter has made this problem both worse and more frequent.

    Once again, though, I think it’s a matter of Twitter accelerating a trend.

    Accelerating in the wrong direction, in my view.

    I get your larger point that these negative aspects of the press are not new, my point is that Twitter is reinforcing and incentivizing those bad habits. I think it’s hard to argue that Twitter has made political reporting – or reporting generally – better.