Coyne on political journalism

Excerpts from a scathing piece by Andrew Coyne in Maclean’s on the performance of political journalism in Canada:

“…in one respect every election is the same: the press coverage. It’s always an embarrassment, and always in exactly the same way. Politicians learn from their mistakes, sometimes. We just go on repeating ours.

The media “… are hurting democracy. We aren’t just missing an opportunity to help the public make sense of things at a critical time. We’re making things worse. We’re actually getting in the way.”

Coyne especially dislikes horserace reporting:

Readers, he says, want to know about political candidates: “Who are these people, and what are they going to do to us? Tell us about the candidates who are running for office, their values and character. And tell us what they would do with the power they seek from us, their policies and platforms. If you need to add a little colour to make it entertaining, fine, but don’t let that obscure the main point.

“What, instead, do we tell them? We tell them who’s ahead, over and over and over. And, of course, who’s behind.”