How media moves

Barack Obama is going to be on the Daily Show tonight. How do I know? Twitter. Their election site is a buzz with infomercial talk. Moreover, they are wondering what’s going to happen when Jon Stewart can make fun of the Obamathon. Obama will dominate the cycle. The question becomes is this overload? Will it turn voters off? Or will it accomplish it’s mission energizing the ground game and getting people into action?


Polling Data Drives the Narrative

Were I to weild a mighty hatchet in the world of media, my first hack would be at Rush Limbaugh. The second would be at polling data. Every major news organization these days seems to partner with another major news organization or university to generate polling data among “registered voters” or “likely voters.” I am no expert on polling. But this year there seems to be two anamolies worrying pollsters and media-watchers alike. The so-called Bradley effect-where voters say they are undecided or pro-black candidate, then enter the booths, reveal their closeted racism and vote the other way. The other issue is newer, the so-called cell phone-only effect. This one says that because many young people only have cell phones and many young people are pro-obama and cell phones are not subjected to polling, therefore it’s possible a vast number of young people poised to vote for Obama that aren’t being counted in these polls. 

I for one, don’t care about either of these phenomona. What matters to me as a media watcher and voter is the simple reliance we have on polling to explain to us what is going to happen and what people are thinking at this moment. Polling has replaced actual reporting an analysis when it comes to covering the election. It used to be we’d see poll results once a month, then once a week. Today we see polling data daily from multiple sources bent of on telling us what voters are thinking across the country and in the key battleground states. Forget about the dubious veracity of polling. There is something to be said for polls being the campaign narrative. Back when Obama secured the nomination pundits wanted to know why he wasn’t further ahead. Now they want to know why McCain is so far behind. All of these things create a football game-like atmosphere in which its the polls that become the story, as if winning this week’s polls secures you points toward the end of the game. 

The media should be focusing on real data and real issues in these campaigns. It should be digesting and qualifying all of the dutiful fact-checking that’s now being done into something more digestable for the average voter. In short the media should be informing voters rather than measuring their opinions based on limited information.

Gwen Ifill Breaks Ankle (!) but will host the debate

Gwen Ifill, my second favorite news anchor and interviewer has apparently broken her ankle. According to mediabistro:

First On TVNewser: PBS’ Gwen Ifill has broken her ankle after tripping and falling down stairs at her home last night, a NewsHour insider tells TVNewser. We’re told Ifill had been walking up a staircase, carrying research related to her moderating duties at Thursday’s Vice Presidential debate in St. Louis, when she took a wrong step.

We are also told the show will go on: Ifill is planning to travel to Missouri for the big event.

That sucks a whole lot, but goes to show only a PBS anchor would trip carrying a mountain of research. Good luck Gwen! The show must go on!

For all the PUMAs for Palin out there a dose of Campbell Brown

I have nothing to add…

Candidates and Media, are they paying enough attention?

I’m minding the spin cycle at the moment. But I wanted to put it out there to my fellow thinkpoppers. Are the presidential candidates and the media paying enough attention to the economy? To real issues in general?

Will this crisis refocus everyone until the debates?

The comment section awaits.

Screens, screens everywhere

There is so much media in our urban lives, yet so little information. You can’t get in a cab, elevator, or a deli these days without screens blaring a constant barrage of advertising. A cab used to be a quiet place but now I have a screen advertising everything from vacation spots, to movies, to more TV. Nevermind the lousy suspension has given me a mental association between Ceasar’s palace and car sickness. Do we really want all these ads every where we go?