The Corner

The Mythology of Super Journalists

I love this, from the New York Times political blog:

At least six million questions have been submitted via the Internet to be asked at the town-hall-style presidential debate Tuesday in Nashville between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain. That’s a lot of queries for 90 minutes, and obviously they won’t all get asked — there will be time for only 15 to 20.

The moderator, Tom Brokaw of NBC News, is sifting through those millions of questions to find six or seven that he might pose. The other dozen or so questions will come from among an audience of about 80 likely voters from the Nashville area who will be on stage with the candidates.

Me: Riiiight. Tom Brokaw, glasses hanging low on his nose, is burning the midnight oil “sifting through” a stack of email that, if printed, would be the equivalent of something like a dozen New York City phone books.

Producer: How’s it going Mr. Brokaw?

Tom Brokaw: Well, I’ve gotten it down to 473,019 excellent questions. I just can’t decide if Tom from Riverside California’s question about education reform should make it to the next round.

I know this is a very minor example, but would the press write something like this about any politician? Wold John McCain or Barack Obama be “sifting through” such suggestions? Presumably, if anyone bothered at all, their campaign staffs would sort through some of it. Why make it sound as if a  popular and powerful journalist is even capable of such due dilligence? News anchors have the equivalent of campaign staffs too, you know.


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