This attempt at public-editing from Arthur Brisbane at the Times is exactly why I usually tell people to take it a little easy on the grunt reporters who have to do the day-to-day work of covering campaigns. Covering a presidential campaign on a daily basis has become so impossible that daily political journalism is very close to becoming a detriment to self-government. The people doing it are working in a dynamic that makes thoughtful consideration of what is true and what is false almost impossible. Tim Crouse wrote about this phenomenon in his absolutely essential The Boys on the Bus almost 40 years ago, and every problem in campaign coverage limned so ably by Crouse in that book — the pull of pack-thinking, the endless and grinding deadlines, the whipsaw of bias claims, the surrender of politics to the syntax and rhetoric of marketing, chickenshit editors back home, etc. etc. — is worse today and not better. The pack is bigger and more unruly. Everybody’s on deadline all the time. (Twitter! File for the blog! Generate Content Across Many Platforms!) There are more — and, occasionally, better — watchdogs, especially on the Intertoobz, but even a lot of that is now hyper-amplified heckling. The marketing people are better at their jobs than the journalism people are at theirs. But, among all the problems that have gotten worse and not better since Crouse wrote his book, it’s is the latter consideration, the chickenshit bosses back home, that has done the real damage.

— Charles P. Pierce, Esquire. The End of Truth.

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