Election coverage: take the good with the bad

I new if I read through enough comments on Adaora Udoji and John Hockenberry’s blog “Your Billion Dollar President,” I’d find the one I dreaded–that “what’s wrong” with the presidential election is the media’s fault. A recent comment by “James” didn’t pull punches:

I believe that we need to silence the infotainment community by dissallowing their profit from the dicsussion and polling process. Why are we even having a conversation about “billion” dollar presidents? Because the infotainment community, yourselves included, has fully recognized and exploited the commercial value of the political race. the media should not be allowed to profit from the democracy.

It’s hard to fault James for concluding that journalists are profiteers when the same site promotes their new morning show with all the best cliches: ” just the beginning,” “in partnership with,” “an entirely new sound in public radio,” “unprecedented personality-driven format,” “Up-to-the-minute,” ” charismatic hosts,” “vibrant team” and “in-depth news coverage.”

That’s laying it on pretty thick, but I would encourage James to dig a little deeper in the sight and see what the internet and new ideas in journalism are bringing to the front: more real responses from real people. I happen to love the water cooler videos and think the energy and humor the two hosts bring to the project helps regular folks on the street loosen up and make some real comments.

If we didn’t have crazy journalists willing to do unusual things like bundling themselves up against the cold and position themselves by a watercooler in the middle of a busy downtown, asking passersby to stop and chat about the elections for everyone’s “infotainment,” then how else would we learn what the rest of the country is thinking and make more informed choices?

As for election ringtones…my favorite was the Jackson 5 take on Hilary’s name, but what if the best sounding ringtone doesn’t match your election choice? We need an undecided tone, I think. Let’s just see how that plays out.

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