I realized that there is a part of covering Congress, if you’re doing daily coverage, that is actually sort of colluding with the politicians themselves because so much of what I was doing was actually recording and playing what they say or repeating what they say. And I feel like the real story of Congress right now is very much removed from any of that, from the sort of theater of the policy debate in Congress, and it has become such a complete theater that none of it is real… I feel like I am, as a reporter in the Capitol, lied to every day, all day. There is so little genuine discussion going on with the reporters… To me, as a reporter, everything is spin.
I am going to try to focus myself on the stories that none of the other reporters have time to cover. NPR would have loved to have had any of these stories… The problem is, as a modern, esteemed news organization, NPR also feels that it needs to cover the daily news and the daily news as currently defined is what happened on the floor today, what’s the big debate in Congress, what’s your government doing. And I completely understand that. But our staff is so small on the Hill that it was impossible for me to do more than a story once in a while that agreed with how I felt it should be covered.
Bonus: Seabrook talks with NPR’s Jennifer Ludden in this July interview about her departure and thoughts on Washington political culture.
Double Bonus: Seabrook is one of 15 Soundcloud Community 2012 fellows. Head over to hear some of the audio stories that each is producing.