Media responsibility for 2000 U.S. presidential results

“Al Gore couldn’t believe his eyes: as the 2000 election heated up, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other top news outlets kept going after him, with misquotes ….while pundits such as Maureen Dowd appeared to be charmed by his rival, George W. Bush,” writes Evgenia Peretz in a Vanity Fair piece that looks at the media’s treatment of Gore in the U.S. 2000 election and, apparently for the first time, gets Gore and his family to talk about the effect of the press attacks on his campaign.

Peretz makes good points in her argument that the U.S. media was (no doubt still is) obsessed with “simple, character-driven narratives that would sell papers and get ratings” — but I think she lets the audience of media off the hook. Somebody, after all, buys all that junk food for the mind, while intelligent, deeply analytical media attracts far fewer readers/watchers. The problem is not merely with the news media, imo, it’s with civic engagement.