When political commentators talk about covering the “horse race” of an election, they are doing more than taking the easy way out in filling air time. They are devaluing the way we look at even far more complex issues. Pick one: climate change, immigration, war or peace; the story is always presented as if they were all just another binary, digital choice. Yes or no, me or you, right or wrong.
What results is an unwillingness to think evidence can sway opinions already held. But that is not the most damning result of the practice. It is that if the goal of every initiative, new product or candidacy is to “pick a side,” the players rely on decibels, not details to rally support. What gets lost is any sense of what’s going on. More»