Take me out to the ballbame

January 30, 2004

It’s funny about how everybody whines about horse-race coverage of the elections and everybody wishes it would go away. Problem is: it can’t.

Say you tune in to a ballgame while you’re channel surfing. You see a closeup of one of your favorite players so you pause for a minute to catch a bit of the action. No force on earth is powerful enough to prevent your brain from wondering: so, what’s the score?

In any competition the first question will always be: who’s winning? And the next question will be, how come?

I’d love to hear suggestions for covering a competition without keeping score.

3 Responses to Take me out to the ballbame

  1. Zarate on January 30, 2004 at 10:41 am

    Still, I’d kind of appreciate it if the graphics that accompany an article didn’t portray an *actual* horserace, or donkey race, as the case may be.

  2. Dave In Texas on January 30, 2004 at 10:24 pm

    Well, yes, it is a race, after all. And in the primaries, there is a running delegate count that just keeps getting higher.
    I’m not sure, however, that the critics are so much unhappy with the primary race as they are of the media handicapping the event with a focus on whether someone wears a sweater. Or whether someone’s wife is more or a political helpmate. Or whether a pep rally is a sign of failed anger management.
    That’s not political coverage. That’s gossip.
    When we pause to watch the ballgame and wonder about the score, it’s the players who are making the decisions about outcome. How long would a sports writer last who decided the Marlin’s really didn’t win the series because Josh Beckett didn’t pitch as good a game as expected?
    We’re seeing reporters set the agenda for the campaign. They decide who is real, who is not. Who is presidenital. Who is not. Who has a chance. Who does not. And they do it earlier and earlier each political season.
    I’m not saying all political coverage must be staid and settled as the old “Meet the Press.” Sure, policy questions are boring.They don’t make good TV or snappy copy. But they will possibly cause our taxes to rise and young men and women die in foreign lands. So maybe we should pay a wee bit more attention.
    If we in the media covered politics as well as we do pennant races, maybe there wouldn’t be so many critics.

  3. politics on February 18, 2004 at 11:49 pm