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Town square for the online Left. The Daily Kos. Huge traffic. The comments section can be highly informative. One of the most successful communities on the Net.

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Joe Gandelman's The Moderate Voice is by a political independent with an irrevant style and great journalistic instincts. A link-filled and consistently interesting group blog.

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Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing at is a daily review of the best reporting and commentary on the presidency. Read it daily and you'll be extremely well informed.

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Micro Persuasion is Steve Rubel's weblog. It's about how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the business of persuasion. Rubel always has the latest study or article.

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Group Blogs

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Lost Remote is a very newsy weblog about television and its future, founded by Cory Bergman, executive producer at KING-TV in Seattle. Truly on top of things, with many short posts a day that take an inside look at the industry.

Editors Weblog is from the World Editors Fourm, an international group of newspaper editors. It's about trends and challenges facing editors worldwide. keeps track of developments from the British side of the Atlantic. Very strong on online journalism.

Digests & Round-ups:

Memeorandum: Single best way I know of to keep track of both the news and the political blogosphere. Top news stories and posts that people are blogging about, automatically updated.

Daily Briefing: A categorized digest of press news from the Project on Excellence in Journalism.

Press Notes is a round-up of today's top press stories from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Richard Prince does a link-rich thrice-weekly digest called "Journalisms" (plural), sponsored by the Maynard Institute, which believes in pluralism in the press.

Newsblog is a daily digest from Online Journalism Review.

E-Media Tidbits from the Poynter Institute is group blog by some of the sharper writers about online journalism and publishing. A good way to keep up

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November 17, 2003

A Politics that is Dumber Than Spam

When 95 percent of the nation can be ignored by the operatives who run presidential politics, there is something wrong. Yet realism in the press says this is the way it is. Will that continue to be so?

I remember the moment when presidential campaigns turned from just maddening and absurd to completely empty for me. It might have happened years before, but I am a believer in politics; that is, I think it’s important to retain some hope. So it took until the fall of 2000.

Bush and Gore were then fighting it out, not by opposing one another in any kind of argument, but by running virtually the same campaign, on the same issues, pandering to the same groups, advancing a rhetoric that sounded the same but for a few catch phrases: “compassionate conservative,” “the people, not the powerful.”

Everyone who knew the game knew how this sameness happened. It was a campaign by the numbers, for the numbers, about the numbers; and in the end it came down to numbers, which is basically all we really remember of 2000—the numbers and the fight in Florida about the numbers. To call the proceedings of that year “poll driven” would not do justice to the scale of their emptiness. Matthew Miller comes a little closer when he talks of a “game of inches,”’ where “both sides jockey and pander for the few extra votes that can turn elections.” What really got me, however, was how the game of inches bypassed almost the entirety of the country, including the City of New York, where I live.

What you get from a campaign by the numbers is the ads. That’s how the consultants, handlers, funders and candidates have agreed to play: your ads against my ads. The candidates themselves are often turned into ads, for that is what it means to stay mindlessly “on message”— you become a walking ad. But in New York we didn’t even get that. There were almost no ads on our television sets because New York State, according to the numbers, was solidly in the Gore column. Why waste any time on it?

Let us, if we can, enter the mind of a professional who thinks himself dedicated to politics, who may even see himself involved in public service, and who nonetheless has been led by his logic to believe that bypassing—just choosing not to address—the nation’s largest (and best known!) city is a good thing. A wise thing. Or, if not exactly a “good,” then at least a necessary move dictated by realities that do not lie— not a tragedy but an irony, part of the game we all play in this business. How does a person like that get to that point?

To win you have to move the numbers. To move the numbers you have to target movable voters. So the first thing you must do is forget about the non-voters. (And forget about converting them to voters: too expensive, and they’re so cynical!) That’s 50 percent of the country right there. They can leave the auditorium. (Losers.) Then you dismiss the states that are sold on Bush or sold on Gore. Gone are the people living in at least 33 of the 50 states, (those idiots) leaving no more than seventeen actually to think about. Here the press will help you out with its savvy references to “key battleground states,” which makes it sound reasonable to ignore all the others. (Those foolish states.)

Then within the “battleground” states, polling will identify the likely voters hopelessly sold on Bush or hopelessly sold on Gore, which is most people. (Pathetic creatures.) That leaves you with a handful of undecided voters, (the blessed) in the states that count. They are the electorate. Here the press comes to your aid again by fixing on undecided voters in “swing states” because it’s trying to be a savvy analyst and it knows how the operatives think.

After all, what other logic is there?

Well, I did some back of the envelope math: There are 17 states where the winner in 2000 won by 6 points or less. That is a very generous definition of a battleground state. (Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin are the states.) The population of those states in 2000 was about 98.2 million total, or 34 percent of the U.S. Total votes in those states amounted to 38.4 million, or 36 percent of all votes cast. If we take a generous estimate of 14 percent “undecided,” (the highest I could find in any national poll in fall 2000) then at most five percent of Americans actually mattered to the operatives who ran the campaign and 95 percent did not matter. And what do the lucky five percent get? Ads!

This is the system deemed logical by the national press, and thought to be inevitable by the insiders who run it. In 2000, it brought us journalism like the following, from the “Newshour” on PBS: “Betty Ann Bowser explores the psyche of undecided voters in the bellwether state of Ohio.”

BETTY ANN BOWSER: So you really are undecided?
BETTY ANN BOWSER: A lot of voters say that, but we think they’re already leaning one way or another.
CASSANDRA MAPES: I’m truly undecided. I probably won’t know until I go in there and I pick my spot.

And of course that’s public television, which is supposed to be more serious. Do we need a new campaign narrative in 2004? Yes, we do, because you can’t get any emptier than that.

Via email, I receive about one Nigerian investment scam letter a day, and immediately delete it. I get one Joe Lieberman for President letter a day, and immediately delete that too. Whatever small inclination I might have had to consider voting for Joe, (he’s always Joe in the text) disappeared when I realized that his campaign intended to keep sending me daily “news” of Joe’s genius, courage, success, and all-but-certain victory— though I never asked for it, and I never respond.

Spam is usually explained as a consequence of the marginal cost of sending an email, which is close to zero. Thus, spammers can make money if only one person in 100,000 responds. But there are other factors. Spammers pay no cost for annoying the 99,999 who do not buy the toner cartridge. It is a dim intelligence indeed that assumes this is so in politics. Via e-mail, the Lieberman campaign lost me as a listener, and he now has zero chance to change my mind. That’s a cost. After all, I am Jewish, blessedly undecided, a registered Democrat in New York, which is a Super Tuesday primary state, so I fit his profile. And I doubt the campaign knows or cares whether these costs are greater than the gain from sending “Liebernotes” out en masse.

Spam is a stupid medium, knows it’s stupid, does not care that it’s stupid, and knows you hate it for its stupidity. Lieberman’s spam (telling me of the “Joe-Vember to Remember outreach program”) is stupid, but does not know any of these things. So there’s another cost: advertising your own cluelessness, which the Lieberman web site also does in most every detail. On top of that, spam is not supposed to be solving the spam problem in Congress, but Lieberman is. And on top of that, he thinks I don’t notice that by using only his first name as much as possible he plays down his Jewish last name—as if that would fool anybody. The big story on his website today: “Joe Unveils New Ad.” You can watch it, you can read about it, and you can send money to keep it on the air.

Do we need a new pattern in presidential politics? Yes we do, because this kind of politics is dumber than spam.

Here’s what Vaclav Havel said in 1992 in a speech called, “The End of the Modern Era.” Havel, of course, is the playwright and political opponent of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia who became president of his country in 1990.

Many of the traditional mechanisms of democracy created and developed and conserved in the modern era are so linked to the cult of objectivity and statistical average that they can annul human individuality. We can see this in political language, where cliche often squeezes out a personal tone. And when a personal tone does crop up, it is usually calculated, not an outburst of personal authenticity.

Sooner or later politics will be faced with the task of finding a new, postmodern face. A politician must become a person again, someone who trusts not only a scientific representation and analysis of the world, but also the world itself. He must believe not only in sociological statistics, but also in real people. He must trust not only an objective interpretation of reality, but also his own soul; not only an adopted ideology, but also his own thoughts; not only the summary reports he receives each morning, but also his own feeling.

Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing, must have read that speech. For Jed Bartlet, the president Sorkin imagined and that Martin Sheen brough to life, is everything Havel said we must have: the politician who became a person again. Of course, it’s just a TV show, so it only gets us half the way there.

It cannot be the case that 95 percent of the country must be ignored so that campaign rationality can prevail. (In fact, though every step in that system is rational, the final result is crazy.)

It cannot be the case that the “savvy” style of journalism, which accepts this system under the law of realism, is the only style possible or practical. (Indeed, I would bet that most journalists are sick of it by now.)

It cannot be the case that one-to-many man is destined to run campaigns forever. (And when the fall comes it will be swift and total, like the collapse of the system that threw Havel in jail.)

It cannot be the case that insulting the citizen’s intelligence (“Joe-vember to Remember”) is the smart way to go. (Once someone demonstrates that definitively, we will marvel at how long the premise held.)

Did you catch John Kerry last week, riding a motorcycle onto Jay Leno’s show in a black leather jacket? I’m sure his campaign would say otherwise, but I think he had no idea why he was there.

Andrew Cline of Rhetorica says he is torn. Fifty percent of him in harmony with the spirit of this post. The rest says: “Bucking the system, even one dumber than spam, is a sure route to loss of leadership—a form of political death. That’s dumb!”

Posted by Jay Rosen at November 17, 2003 10:40 AM   Print


Beautiful essay. The election of 2000 was a non-election. Any of the 2004 candidates could break out and decide to engage voters with minds in a discussion. All of a sudden the venue would change from commercials on radio and television to the blogosphere. Weblogs.Com and Technorati would carry the important news of the day, not CNN and Dan Rather.

You are so right about 2000. Is it any miracle that it ended in a tie, and had to be settled in the Supreme Court? What is amazing is that the public is so asleep that we're ready to let it happen AGAIN!

Anyway, putting my words into action, I wrote an essay this morning asking the candidates to take a stand on keeping the Internet free from interference of the media companies. I hope people consider it seriously, as I would hope they would consider any thoughtful idea from a voter.

Surely one of the marginal candidates with little chance of winning would like to try a new approach? One can only hope.

Posted by: Dave Winer at November 17, 2003 12:26 PM | Permalink

The only way the structure will be changed is via a major overhaul of the representation system, from winner-take-all to some sort of proportional representation. Otherwise, what you described is absolutely inherent in the structure of the winner-take-all voting scheme.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at November 17, 2003 12:28 PM | Permalink

In essence, Jay is complaining that half the country is apathetic and the rest is narrowly divided. I can see a screed against apathy, but otherwise, what's the problem, exactly?

That national political rhetoric is stupid? As far as I can tell, it's exactly at the level of every other style of rhetoric (network promos, commercials, local politics, family arguments...). Our national politics isn't stupid -- it's average.

Making voters smarter -- the ivory-tower strategy -- won't help. As Adlai Stevenson could have told you, politics is not about intelligence. Possibly for a good reason: Many of the stupidest things I've heard said in the past year have come from highly educated people sitting in ivory towers.

That some states are safe for candidates of one party or the other is not a problem, it's just a fact. Those states aren't "foolish," they've just made up their minds. Candidates who ignore them aren't evil, they're just setting rational priorities. So what?

Proportional representation won't help, unless you think Italy, say, is better governed than the U.S. My description of political hell would be forcing the Republicans and Democrats to form coalitions with handfuls of loony Naderites, the Outlaw Abortion Party and the Praise Jesus Party in order to get anything done.

You say the press coverage is stupid? Then ignore it, as the sane 95% of Americans do until a month or so before the election.

It's true that the press could do something about this. It could ignore all presidential campaigning until 30 days before the first primary. But that won't happen because reporters love covering government and politics. They love it because it's really easy: Politicians crave attention and will do anything to make it convenient for the press to cover them.

And because they spend so much time talking to people in the government business, reporters eventually start to think politics matters to their readers ... when in fact, for most people, the slivers of government that are directly affected by elections have almost nothing to do with their day-to-day lives.

If you're looking for an Internet-era, many-to-many politics of conviction, etc., John Dean is your man. Watch the Democrats nominate him. Watch him lose almost as badly as McGovern did.

Hillary will take note and will run exactly the kind of campaign you despise in 2008 -- and may well win, unless Al Qaeda manages to set off a dirty bomb in New York. And I have no doubt she's read her Havel...

Posted by: Mike at November 17, 2003 1:38 PM | Permalink

Yikes, did I type "John" instead of "Howard"? My Watergate-era roots are showing...

Posted by: Mike at November 17, 2003 1:49 PM | Permalink

Mike, I agree with much of what you say - but you've got to admit, in Italy, people do get involved in elections!

Maybe there's worse outcomes than apathy, be careful what you wish for, you might get it :-)

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at November 17, 2003 2:46 PM | Permalink

Our national politics isn't stupid -- it's average.

Not only is it average, it needs to be average in order to communicate with voters (average people). Educate the media, sure--but then people will pay even less attention. Stupid ads are the way you talk to America, because these ads are our culture. Ads (and don't forget the marketing-flavored entertainment) are our shared stories, the things we talk about and the way we learn.

Yes, politics is in a sorry state. Yes, the press is just as bad. But you'll need to educate all of America to fix either of these problems.

Posted by: jazer at November 17, 2003 3:12 PM | Permalink

The article describes pretty effectively an environment where *everyone* matters! In a straight popular vote, would *anyone* matter? Surely the outcome would be known from the beginning.

For the people who think Gore won on 2000: who wins a football game, the one with the most yardage or the one with the most points? Is that fair?

Posted by: pb at November 17, 2003 7:59 PM | Permalink

What about the FCC's role in this? Shouldn't they be insisting on diversity of programming and even better programming. Isn't that their mandate? Yes, yes, yes.
Unfortunately, the FCC has been bought and paid for by the corporate patronage in Washington.
The problem goes well beyond journalism and elections.

Posted by: david at November 17, 2003 11:18 PM | Permalink

While on the surface, this essay is about the tyranny of the numbers, what struck me as more compelling was Jay's plead for an actual human voice in politics. I don't think apathetic voters need more "education." I do think that if a candidate actually conversed with people as a human being (a la Havel) instead of a walking ad/soundbite, you might find people less apathetic.

So, candidates. Take a stand. Have an opinion. Treat me with intellectual respect. ("Joe-Vember - ugh). Be authentic. Believe me, I (and every American I know) can pick up on BS in a nanosecond.

In the meantime, play your numbers game if that is what it takes to win today. But do both (through blogs and other web-based communications, for example). Because a tipping point will be reached (soon I hope) where the old ways won't rule anymore.

Posted by: Elizabeth at November 18, 2003 9:02 AM | Permalink

I agree with many of the points in this essay - however, the American public had an opportunity to elect a person (Nader) and not a politician in 2000, and still chose a politician. The system will not change so long as we continue to believe lies like a third-party vote is a wasted vote - a lie that is not only a logical fallacy (, but indicative of a moral failure in that surrenders principled reason to fear and then votes for the lesser of two evils.

Posted by: Jeff at November 18, 2003 9:22 AM | Permalink

I don't think we should be surprised that ads (a) don't have meaningful content, and (b) get targeted at "markets" that are predicted to matter.

1. As DaveWiner points out, challenge to the incrementalist model has to come from someone who has little chance of winning under it. Sounds something like an InnovatorsDilemma

2. Isn't it the job of the news media to make all local messages known at the national level? (So New Yorkers get told how many giveaways to swing states they'll be paying for...) And to push, through direct questioning and editorializing, on messages to get clarity? Given the chicken behavior of the BigMedia who have the biggest reasons to suck up to the government, that's the biggest argument perhaps against MediaConcentration...

Posted by: Bill Seitz at November 18, 2003 4:49 PM | Permalink

Our typical political involvement is part of the poor me syndrome. Our media does a good job of helping us pick up on the small tasks at hand and miss the big picture.

Posted by: aaron wall at November 18, 2003 7:58 PM | Permalink

Like the responses to Dave Winer’s proposal, this discussion can slip easily into windmill-tilting. That’s at least in part because the twin villains here are largely outside our reach: the Constitution, which established the state as the core political unit and the voting system as indirect, making the presidential election an Electoral College winner-take-all affair, and the Big Media, which cover national elections the way they do because – well, because that’s the way it’s always been done, and besides, that’s what news consumers expect.

The Constitution isn’t likely to be amended to create more of a popular vote system in my lifetime, but change in the coverage of elections is possible – not easy, by any means, but possible. Unfortunately for the probabilities, though, the potential for change is dependent on the cojones (real or virtual) of those in the new generation of editors and managers who are coming to lead the dailies and TV stations. They’re the ones who will have to stand against the bottom-line pressures of the corporate managers and argue persuasively for an investment in an approach that will rebuild reader-/viewership.

Unfortunately for all of us, it really is the media that must lead. As inertia-bound as they are, they are freer to move in response to the promise of eyeballs and revenue than are politicians who suffer under twin burdens: They have made it to the presidential candidacy level by getting elected repeatedly to represent increasingly extensive districts by offering more and more tempered, measured messages. And they have no choice but to fill the ranks of their campaigns with operatives who understand “elections as usual” all too well.

Some of this energy to change will come from within the craft. For example, Poynter last week held a session on covering the ’04 election that reportedly was well attended and generated some interesting discussions. But most of it will come from just plain folks asking/calling for/demanding, in every venue possible, that coverage change to make it more useful to news consumers – and, not so incidentally, to begin to catalyze some change in the election processes themselves.

Posted by: Alan S. Kay at November 18, 2003 10:52 PM | Permalink

The nature of the two-player presidential contest makes their identical platforms a practical necessity--they are pushing directly against one another, and so must be in the same place. But while their positions during the campaign are identical, they are pushing in opposite directions. And that is the important difference between the parties.

The ashes of compassionate conservatism and no child left behind make that clear. Does anyone believe an Ashcroft equivalent would be attorney general in a Gore administration? The differences between the major parties are real, dramatic, and important.

Posted by: ephraim cohen at November 19, 2003 8:31 PM | Permalink

First, a general query: Does anyone think that serious campaign finance reform law might change any of this even slightly, or would it merely lead to next year's round of figuring out the soft-money endrun round the rules?
But back to your point:
So if you can think of some way of targeting swing votes more effectively, if you can pinpoint them more precisely and offer a way of reaching them better, the handlers will love you forever.

I believe what drives the campaigns heavily toward identical rhetoric is the medium in which campaigns currently have to operate. It may be different in smaller states where people meet the candidates and size them up at public breakfasts. Because of population size, in CA it's all money for tv. It's the only thing that reaches enough people at once to influence anything, and that's not even very effective. I suspect, as tv channels have become diluted and market share has splintered under the onslaught of other media (we are, after all, on the Internet here, not watching the tv) that the tv ads most more, matter less, and convince skeptical consumers far less than they used to in the pre-cable era.
I recall reading something awhile back about the scramble to find the leaks where that market share dribbled away. Some of it, as I recall, wandered off in what you might call genre directions on cable, instead of watching the major networks. Some of it went here to the net (less than you'd think), some went to video games, some to improved machines for viewing movies. But there's also a very large fragment of "who knows where it went?"
Lawn signs are not exactly filling the gap in an urban culture where nobody knows the neighbors, nor cares to. If you encountered some of the neighbors we've endured out here, you wouldn't want to know them any better either. Posting a lawn sign in my current neighbborhood--where we *do* know the neighbors, and we agree to disagree fairly often--would probably make them vote against my candidate of choice.
In spite of my firm conviction that it's part of my job to vote in an informed manner, I'm willing to take a friend's word for things. I'm much more inclined to take detailed word of mouth suggestions from the news junkies I know.
So are many people on the web. It takes a different sort of salesmanship to reach a "word-of-mouth" market than tv ads or a spam-email campaign. Those two approaches have not developed any sort of need or personal relationship with their voters.
Pundits on tv aren't doing the job any better, as they seem tainted by bias, and people are cynical. There's been too many abuse-of-authority issues in the last year: the financial scandals, the priest scandals, the questions about what Bush knew about and when he knew it.
(sound familiar?)

If you're noticing a bad case of arteriosclerosis of the strategy here, then we should probably ask ourselves if the same few people have been doing it for years. They have their methods. So many of the important figures were "top of their game" heavy hitters in Bush SR's day, and they aren't going away anytime soon.
They've honed what works for them, they've developed resources and alternatives that fit within the narrow parameters of success, they aren't likely to find themselves backed into a corner and forced to improvise new tricks the way a sloppy new inexperienced political handler might be.
In the face of slow creeping declines, such as the reduction in tv market share, many people restrict their approaches tighter and tighter to what is known to work. They're going to be conservative in their methods simply because there's too much at stake to make wild gambles with the money.
This is exactly what drives copycat and sequel movies: I suggest that any public exercise in which vast sums of money are spent on risky intangibles will devolve into centrist bias, extensive market sampling, script timidity, and ruthless suppression of radical experiments in narrative structure and acting technique. After all, politics *does* involve the entertainment industry and ad agencies!

To be fair to the handlers, those undecided citizens have made it loud and clear what they want. They want 30 second sound bites to help them decide in ten minutes before they have to leave to vote before the polls close, if they remember it's tonight at all.
There are statistics out there discussing the fact that labor-saving devices have managed to make the general work day longer and more intense, articles discussing how a bad economy is pushes workers to stay competitive by working quicker and more efficiently and forlonger time periods, and that greater population pressures are forcing many to commute longer distances, lengthening their day even further. I've seen articles discussing the fact that people are sleeping fewer hours than they used to.
They may be slumbering in front of the tv, or staying up *far* too late on the computer, but they're not getting as much rest as they used to a mere thirty years ago.
That is energy taken away from the thoughtful contemplation of politics. It is time taken away from those ladies who volunteer for organizing committees. It is alert intelligence diverted away from political discussion in public spaces.
How many undecided voters who come home from work tired out and fed up with office politics are going to feel like sitting carefully watching tv coverage of all the candidates covering many of the thorny issues in an idiosynchratic personal way?
You're lucky if they don't throw beer cans through the tv.

Posted by: Heather at November 22, 2003 8:41 AM | Permalink

It is a relief to find this site. THANKS. I advocate turning off 'Spin Alley' and all the rest of the so-called media biases out there - at NPR, at Fox News, at CNN and at all the rest of the major networks.

You are absolutely right, replacing the word 'press' by the term 'media' has opened Pandora's Box. This new, elastic media thinks of itself as without boundaries. It now makes news. Worse, the major players are constantly distorting facts and biasing the listening public by their body langauge -- apparently an event reaches a pinnacle of importance by the sheer number of times that it (or a particular clip) is broadcast.

As a linguist I watch the raised eyebrows, the change in intonation, the body posture etc of the major media players and it is to the point of ridiculous. These folks are playing up what they LIKE and they downplaying what they don't like, as if we have given them this new god-given right.

I detest the new crop of lawyerly programming, all those snakes out there who are out to make a name for themselves in their feeding frenzies over celebrity who-done-its. These snakes are compromising our judicial system AND the precept upon which it is based, that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Now, the system we have isn't perfect but it is a far cry better than what these lawyer snakes are doing today.

How can this be stopped?

What can we, the public, do about all this? Where is our voice? How can we effectively combat this millenium 'media' that is strangling what used to be sane in America? Don't tell me just don't watch CNN or Fox news, or don't listen to NPR, etc. That isn't going to stop them.


Posted by: Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph at November 24, 2003 10:57 AM | Permalink

comments about Italy's proportional representation electoral system by Mike on Nov. 17 are overdone cliches, especially since Italy is experimenting with the Anglo-Saxon first-past-the-post system nowadays. Most democracies other than English speaking ones use proportional voting, and not all of them have political landscapes that are so chaotic. The reason Italy does is because Italians live there. For proportional voting that works, think of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand, and many other stable countries. It's a cop-out to cut off all debate about electoral systems by pointing out the "failure" of the Italians...

Posted by: Anthony Skaggs at December 3, 2003 4:36 PM | Permalink

If i can answer - Yes, it will continue and is dumb as spam. Does this make any sense, yes...

Posted by: Jason at February 29, 2004 5:39 PM | Permalink

Why did the media do such a poor job of reporting on the Iraq war? The boosterism of news anchors, the suppression of antiwar views, and the sanitized images of war that defined television coverage are not a simple matter of bias or ineptitude, says media analyst Danny Schechter. He draws attention to the connection between the decisions made by journalists and the lobbying efforts of owners who will profit immensely from the upcoming FCC decision in June.

Posted by: brother at March 24, 2004 9:13 PM | Permalink

While I agree that there is usually bias in reporting, and although Fox claims to be "fair and balanced", it does seem to favor the conservative view. It does however, create a balance by countering the other media that lean to the left. I think that we are experiencing the highest degree of knowledge that the american public has ever known. No stone is unturned. The comment that the war reporting was poor is inaccurate in my view. Every angle was and continues to be well represented. To get a "balanced" perspective you simply need to surf the channels. Most Americans know how to filter the BS. Give us the credit we deserve!

I am tired of the complaints about the 2000 election. We know that Gore had more votes... but, the election is decided by electoral votes. This particular election would have went to the Democrats. Others in the past would have been turned over to the Republicans. If we want to change the process then so be it. But we can't change past elections! I agree that it narrows the race to the battleground states and that is not good for America. I disagree that the twoo party system is bad and needs to change. The parties straddle each side of the middle of the political spectrum as dictated by the voters. This system is slow to respond and thus promotes stability.

Posted by: Terry Goodrich at April 3, 2004 1:25 PM | Permalink

From the Intro