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November 11, 2008

my favorite article on the 2008 campaign

That would be Mark Danner's "Obama & Sweet Potato Pie" in the New York Review of Books. Danner describes two rallies, one for Obama and one for McCain. As he notes, the national press corps follows the candidates, listens to them repeat their stump speeches time after time, and reports only the new lines that are inserted daily for their interest--usually attacks on the other candidates or responses to attacks. I well remember seeing Bill Bradley speak live in the 1992 campaign and marveling that the only aspect of his speech that appeared in the newspaper the next day was a line about Bill Clinton. The whole thing is a game that the campaigns and the press know how to play.

But a campaign also consists of whole speeches delivered in real settings to people from geographical communities. Danner depicts two such occasions as the dynamic interplay between the candidates and their audiences. He does an unusually good job of portraying both sets of voters with understanding and sympathy. He suppresses his own judgments in the interest of clear-eyed reporting. For me, the piece pretty much sums up the whole campaign.

November 11, 2008 7:59 AM | category: press criticism | Comments


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