Wednesday, July 28, 2004

# Posted 2:06 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SPLIT PERSONALITIES IN BOSTON: Will the NYT please make up its mind?  Is the Democratic Convention an exceptional event that deserves its own special eight-page section in each morning's paper, or is it a stage-managed pseudo-event that isn't worth its readers' time?  According to RW Apple, conventions have become nothing more than
long infomercials. Scripted, sanitized and stripped of the unexpected by early anointment of presidential and vice-presidential nominees, they offer as few clashes of policies and personalities as possible.
Apple then goes on to note that the Times has despatched 100 of its staff to cover the event.  Huh?  Does that mean the editors disagree with Apple and actually believe the event is important?  Not as far as I can tell.  Under the headline "Reporters Outnumber Delegates 6 to 1", the Times writes that
Political reporters are a hardy, predictable bunch. They come to a coronation that has been scheduled for months — like the Democratic convention, which opened last night — and immediately begin whining about the absence of news and bathrooms. But they are secret admirers of this particular inflection point in the pageant of democracy, and many are surreptitiously beside themselves with excitement.
  Hold on a second.  These reporters are excited about an event that they themselves denounce as scripted and unimportant?  The Times goes on to explain that these inexplicably excited journalists 
finally have the eyes of America upon them...Everywhere the attendant media look at a convention — the herd of satellite trucks, the phalanx of security, the whup-whup of helicopters overhead — tells them one thing: it is all here. It is all happening right now.
So now I get it.  Journalists are excited about a non-event because other journalists are excited about the same non-event.  In other words, this is like one of those Las Vegas conventions where a whole lot of dentists get together to booze it up and go to strip clubs while pretending that they are exchanging important ideas about the future of dentistry.

And why the hell not?  There's no actual news for journalists to cover, so they have a lot of time on their hands.  Viva la convencion!
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