Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How Necessary are Journalists?

In the wake of the 2008 election, in which we saw a candidate from a major party who refused to give a press conference during the entire course of her candidacy, who gave two interviews to establishment TV news outlets (and failed miserably), and yet who commanded millions of voters and is now the de-facto leader of her party, we now see a candidate for Senate in Nevada who refuses to give interviews (other than to friendly Fox News or conservative talk radio outlets where she will not have to answer questions about her controversial positions), and the local Nevada media literally begging her to sit for an interview. It makes me wonder if the Palin legacy was to render the press completely irrelevant.

Palin may be an incurious farce of a politician, a poor excuse for a leader, and a catty, sniping little trailer-park harpie, but she's so blissfully unaware of all of that that she has the media falling all over themselves to accommodate her. That she will be a serious contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is a given, but if that's the case, what role will the press play a year from now when candidates today are modeling her now, steadfastly refusing to give interviews to the press and using only "safe" havens to get out their messages? If these press-averse candidates find themselves winning elections this year, this will embolden candidates on both sides of the aisle to shun the press for the Greta Van Susterens, Rachel Maddows, and Keith Olbermanns of the media world to launch campaigns, answer softball questions, and craft their messages without being hounded and lambasted by pesky reporters. It's not like bloggers have nearly the same level of influence as reporters, or nearly the reach despite having millions of page views per month (sorry, Andrew).

No comments: