October 13, 2003

Conventionally Wrong

Howard Kurtz echoes a theme I sounded the other day about newspapers and other traditional media: They're out of touch.

"Both California's recall and Dean's surge in the polls tapped into veins of voter anger that most journalists badly underestimated," writes Kurtz in today's Washington Post. "Which makes you wonder what else the press has misjudged."

Kurtz is right. The conventional wisdom was that a recall of Gray Davis was unlikely (to be fair, the newspaper articles Kurtz cites were written before Arnold Schwarzenegger entered the race, making Davis' ouster much more probable) and that Howard Dean was a "a colorful underdog who was not a real threat for the nomination."

Dean, in fact, may prove in the end to be more bark than bite, but the conventional wisdom never saw him being as much of a player because it didn't understand the public's (in this case, the liberal public) need for leadership. In California, the press failed to grasp the depth of the public's frustration with government.

A little conventional wisdom is a dangerous thing. It leads to assumption and we know what that spells.

 Howard Kurtz On Paper vs. In Paper
 First Draft Shouting into the Wind

Posted by Tim Porter at October 13, 2003 08:47 AM

Tim: did you see the chart of the counties in California that supported the recall vs. the ones that didn't? Virtually all the major media centers are in areas that supported Gray Davis and opposed the recall. Vicinity if nothing else isolated us from the will of the majority of Californians who voted last Tuesday. It all seemed like it was happening in another country because nobody in my neighborhood (East Bay) nor anybody from here to the Pacific and fifty miles north or south wanted Davis out. Everybody else did, though.

Posted by: tom on October 13, 2003 09:29 PM
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