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Thu, Apr 21 2005

The Rapid Call

Joe Gandelman over at The Moderate Voice commented on Karl Rove's recent remarks regarding media reporting. Mr. Rove apparently compared current news reporting to horse racing when he spoke of the "shrill and rapid call of the track announcer".

Mr. Rove's original comments struck a certain chord with me, because I recently posted an entry about the way citizens can become informed about politicians' actions and stances almost immediately now. News media personnel have traditionally competed for "the scoop" in getting a share of the audience. Print media strive to be the first with a story. Radio and TV introduced the the concept of "breaking in" with news flashes.

With the internet, PDAs and cell phones we can now have instant interactive news. If the haste to be first in print, radio and TV seemed competitive, just imagine the possiblities when it comes to instant access and notification based on the preferences of the one seeking news. As more people find their way online the speed of reporting will likely get more frantic. This doesn't insure accuracy but it does please those who want their news and want it right now.

This sort of thing is tough for politicians, who rely heavily on aides, cabinet personnel, committees, cronies, lobbyists and other channels of communication that may take time to filter in to them. The positions they take are usually not based on instant information. But the reactions of constituents and critics are going to be greatly influenced by that "rapid call", whether politicians accept it or not. The horse race pace in the dissemination of both correct and incorrect news is going to make it increasingly tough for politicians to maintain a dynamic image on a steady political platform. The challenge will be staying flexible in the face of rapid change without seeming to flip-flop on the issues and to remain sure in priciple without looking obstinate and out of touch. That rapid call could put a lot of politicians out to pasture before they can even get out of the gate.

posted at: 09:47 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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