Like a Setting Sun

Jay Rosen has an interesting analysis of why people like Chuck Todd and Ron Fournier hate the average Balloon Juice reader:

This is what led to the cult of the savvy, my term for the ideology and political style that journalists like Chris Cillizza and Mark Halperin spread through their work. The savvy severs any lingering solidarity between journalists as the providers of information, and voters as decision-makers in need of it. The savvy sets up — so it can speak to and cultivate — a third group between these two: close followers of the game. The most common term for them is “political junkies.” The site that Cillizza runs was created by that term. It’s called The Fix because that’s what political junkies need: their fix of inside-the-game news.

[…]

But we’re not done. The savvy sets up a fifth group. (The first four: savvy journalists, political junkies, masters of the game, and an abstraction, The Voters.) These are the people who, as Weber put it, live for politics. They are involved as determined participants, not just occasional voters. Whereas the junkies can hope for admission to the secrets of the game (by taking cues from Chris Cillizza and Mark Halperin and the guys at Politico) the activists are hopelessly deluded, always placing their own ideology before the cold hard facts.

The whole thing is worth a read. One thing Rosen doesn’t remark on is this contradiction:  On one hand, these savvy guys consider themselves hard-bitten realists who are above the kinds of simpering delusion that afflicts those of us who actually care about politics. On the other hand, they’re prone to embarrassing, gooey, man-crushes on tough, manly politicians like McCain.

75 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    The Rosen link isn’t working.

  2. 2
    dpm (dread pirate mistermix) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Fixed. Thanks.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    Ron Fournier hates the average Balloon Juice reader because we’re mostly Democrats.

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    Does anyone still watch Cup O’ Schmoe’s show in the morning?

    I mean, anyone outside of the DC MSM Village, and cocktail party circuit?

    FSM, it was once at least WATCHABLE!

    Now, as far as I can tell from the few seconds I stay on MSNBC in the morning, it’s a bunch of insider sycophant’s and toadies, trading political yarns, unfunny bon mot’s, and perceived DC meme “wisdom.”

    Will no one at MSNBC rid us of Cup O’ Schmoe and his morning political zoo crew?

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    From the Cilizza piece that spawned the Rosen post:

    Now, I can already hear people saying some version of this: “It’s your job in the media to INFORM people. To tell them what’s right and what’s wrong. To cut through the clutter.” Absolutely true. And that’s why I included the actual language from the CBO report in my initial post and why I think Glenn’s post is so valuable. But, I would say to those critics: You overestimate the media’s ability to (a) cut through the clutter or (b) change peoples’ minds about what’s true and what’s not. As I noted above, people, largely, believe what they want to believe. And that’s even more true in a siloed media world where conservatives read, listen to and watch content that affirms their beliefs and liberals do the same.

    My job is to assess not the rightness of each argument but to deal in the real world of campaign politics in which perception often (if not always) trumps reality. I deal in the world as voters believe it is, not as I (or anyone else) thinks it should be.

    Dear lord.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Does anyone still watch Cup O’ Schmoe’s show in the morning?

    Raven.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Hahahahaha. Cilizza wins the 2014 Chuck Todd Award for Journalism.

  8. 8
    big ole hound says:

    I appreciate the dis from the gushing gerbils of gournalism as they keep running on the wheel of fantasy.

  9. 9
    eldorado says:

    colbert was spot on.

  10. 10
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Dear lord is right. In a just universe, a person who wrote such a monstrous rationalization would be sucked into his screen, pixelated, spat out as an ED popup ad and heard from no more.

  11. 11
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I deal in the world as voters believe it is, not as I (or anyone else) thinks it should be.

    Says it all that the actual world as it really exists doesn’t even bear mention in that sentence.

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Instead of some grand conspiracy, I’m just going to continue to believe they’re idiots.

  13. 13
    c u n d gulag says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Or, better yet, fired for gross incompetence, so he can discover the real world that the rest of us live in.

    The one without echo-chamber reverb, positive feedback-loops, and “Attaboy’s!” at DC cocktail parties.

  14. 14
    Baud says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Those two aren’t mutually exclusive.

    In any event, what we’re seeing is not so much a conspiracy as it is a culture that pervades political journalists.

  15. 15
    MattF says:

    “Politics matters.” And, I believe, the Cillizzas and the Halperins and the Fourniers know it– but they’d prefer that it be their little secret.

  16. 16
    Jeremy says:

    I never liked Chris Cilizza. The guy is just another GOP shill beltway hack.

  17. 17
    Cacti says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    My job is to assess not the rightness of each argument but to deal in the real world of campaign politics in which perception often (if not always) trumps reality. I deal in the world as voters believe it is, not as I (or anyone else) thinks it should be.

    Where have you gone, Ed Murrow?

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    They are mad because of social media that has educated folks calling them on their bullshyt and lies.

  19. 19
    Dave says:

    This group is either shallow thinkers, mendacious, blinded by their peer group, kinda dumb or some mix of those. I mean yes perception matters, quite a bit depending on what exactly is being discussed, I spent too many years not wanting to accept that. It’s like these guys realize that think that they’ve figured “it”out and then only ever run with that. Perception shapes reality to a degree but stepping off a 20ft ledge whether you perceive it’s presence or importance or not is going to hurt. The Bush years were a beautiful distillation of this and I’m sure that a Romney presidency would have matched if not exceeded this. And it’s a disaster when practiced on a large scale. Of course it doesn’t help that most of the people who do this professionally are well rewarded for it.

  20. 20

    On one hand, these savvy guys consider themselves hard-bitten realists who are above the kinds of simpering delusion that afflicts those of us who actually care about politics. On the other hand, they’re prone to embarrassing, gooey, man-crushes on tough, manly politicians like McCain.

    Their desire for a strong Daddy figure who will get tough and lay down some tough love on the lazy, coddled masses of ‘those’ people trumps all.

  21. 21
    geg6 says:

    And thus Chris Cilizza demonstrates perfectly why no one who actually has to live in the real world he thinks is so irrelevant knows who the fuck Chris Cilizza is. So my question to Cilizza would be, who is the truly irrelevant one in that equation?

  22. 22
    Kay says:

    “cult of the savvy” is genius. It’s one of those things I read where I immediately thought “oh, sure, that’s what that is!”

    We so needed a phrase for it.

  23. 23
    piratedan says:

    @Cacti: nothing quite like a journo telling us how he thinks he knows how voters believe when they’re the ones who shape that by spinning what they’re reporting…

    it’s no wonder that folks are peeling away from getting any info from the msm outlets thanks to their own oblivious duplicity.

  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @piratedan:

    how he thinks he knows how voters believe

    Even if you accept Cilizza’s premise that his only job is to report on voter perception, how does he accomplish that? Does he analyze polls like Nate Silver? Does he go out into the heartland to talk to real voters? Or does he simply project his own views about the awesomeness of GOP talking points onto voters? My guess it’s the last one, which means he doesn’t even live up to his own standard of journalism.

  25. 25
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay: Exactly.

  26. 26
    Kay says:

    I know Republicans will use the CBO report (or whatever!) to run attack ads on the PPACA, and everyone else also knew that immediately, so they didn’t really need Chuck Todd to act as an interpreter, but I don’t get a clear sense that people (outside the uninsured-the participants) are paying that much attention to the law, so I don’t know that it will work the same way as it did in 2010.

    After the initial 24/7 focus on the website, the only people who mention it here are the people who are trying to navigate it. I guess the theory is that it will be enough to get the GOP base out again, but I think there’s real dissatisfaction among of plenty of GOP’ers with Republicans, so in that way this midterm may be unlike 2010.

    I honestly think there’s an effort in political media to “even things up”, so, for example, if Chris Christie implodes and they cover that for 2 weeks they have to swing back the other way and cover something that happens to Democrats in an equally breathless manner.

    I just no longer believe that this 2 week cycle, R to D, is entirely random.

  27. 27
    beltane says:

    They hate us because we are not deferential in the face of their “savvy”. Not only are we not deferential, but we also tend to broadcast the fact that they are nothing more than a pack of untalented, overpaid, bootlicking, courtesans. We do not merely point out that the emperor has no clothes, but also that his naked physique is flabby, pimple-covered, and poorly endowed.

  28. 28
    different-church-lady says:

    But, I would say to those critics: You overestimate the media’s ability to (a) cut through the clutter or (b) change peoples’ minds about what’s true and what’s not.

    If I were a blogger of any status I’d be writing a doozy with the title “Chris Cillizza Admits He’s Useless” solely for the thrill of watching him react by contorting himself into a pretzel in the attempt to explain how he’s not.

  29. 29
    Jeremy says:

    @Kay: Great point, and I agree that the mediais trying to balance the negative coverage of Christie.

  30. 30
    IowaOldLady says:

    @geg6: I’m still not sure who Chris Cilizza is ( or how to spell his name). So yeah!

  31. 31
    MattF says:

    @beltane: All that, but I’d add that their behavior is political, and a reflection of their political beliefs. Politics matters, even for Mr. Cilizza.

  32. 32
    Poopyman says:

    @Cacti:

    Where have you gone, Ed Murrow?

    Zombi Ed Morrow would kick the shit out of Cilizza for writing that. But sadly, zombi Ed Morrow would then go away still hungry.

  33. 33
    Aimai says:

    @Baud: yes. Fournier isnt a journalist hes both a “master of the craft” and a partisan.

  34. 34
    piratedan says:

    @different-church-lady: if only they’d try to cut through the clutter, just for a change of pace… you know, report what the legislation is purported to do, if there are any caveats or poison pills embedded within and who would be effected and how they would be affected (my apologies to Ms. Sutton as I’m almost positive I got effected and affected reversed).

  35. 35
    Richard Fox says:

    I have become far less interested in domestic news and reading about the news precisely because of this filtered prism the Todds and Chinchillas (or whatever his name is) represents. They give no historical insight, no understanding of motivation, just the endless back and forth ping ponging of political gotchas. I get more understanding of events from this here blog, and for treats here I also get art, music references, doggies, and of course– pussycats. One stop shopping.

  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    We’ve gone through the looking glass when journalists explain how their job isn’t really journalism, and castigating US for expecting otherwise!

  37. 37
    Kay says:

    @Jeremy:

    Well, a lot of times they tell us, right? They do whole segments on “did we go too far with X?” and that happens a lot. Clearly there’s something else going on here other than a recitation of events or we wouldn’t have these regular, periodic post mortems on “fairness”.

  38. 38
    Petorado says:

    The DC press covers Washington like supermarket tabloids cover the Kardashians. The governance of this nation gets reduced to the bitchiness of a couple of cliques vying for dominance of the high school. Rather than looking at the real life implications of the actions and inactions made by electeds, the beltway press prefers use its power as information broker to publish accounts that only incite more petty bitchiness. All of Washington is but a stage and we are just the audience.

  39. 39
    Alex S. says:

    I think it’s a pretty, but ultimately useless game for the Holy Grail, i.e. the position of most powerful human being on the planet. These people think to themselves that officially, the president holds the most power… but inofficially, what about the machine that sustains him? Isn’t the machine more powerful? Isn’t the media part of that machine? And all these people probably think of themselves as having that great insider-y handle on politics, the game of power and perception, so that it’s secretly them who really hold the most power. They move opinions of the people, or of the people who move the people, and so on several meta-levels. Everyone outside of that cocoon is completely baffled.

  40. 40
    different-church-lady says:

    On the other hand, they’re prone to embarrassing, gooey, man-crushes on tough, manly politicians like McCain.

    That’s because they’re Hollywood celebrity reporters who work in Washington instead of Hollywood.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Roasting Czilla on a spit would be too humane.

  42. 42
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @different-church-lady:

    DING DING DING DING DING.

    Tiger Beat on the Potomac…the lot of them.

  43. 43
    the Conster says:

    The only thing good about Twitter is that these idiots get instant feedback from the average Balloon Juice reader telling the Halperins and the Fourniers that they’re full of shit and only fooling themselves. It’s the only thing that pierces their bubble and they at least have to try to defend their idiocy. Hence Cillizza’s admission that his job is not to practice journalism.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @the Conster:

    They still get their fat paychecks though, like clockwork. So the sting of Twitter is significantly lessened.

    Now, if you were to barge in on some Georgetown soiree and hijack the cocktail weenie and tiger shrimp chafing dishes, that would cut deeply.

  45. 45
    Citizen_X says:

    @Alex S.:

    it’s secretly them who really hold the most power.

    I think that’s really how they think about it. “Presidents may come and Presidents may go, but we abide.”

    The lobbyists may think the same thing. They’ve got a better case.

  46. 46
    Cervantes says:

    dpm:

    One thing Rosen doesn’t remark on is this contradiction: On one hand, these savvy guys consider themselves hard-bitten realists who are above the kinds of simpering delusion that afflicts those of us who actually care about politics. On the other hand, they’re prone to embarrassing, gooey, man-crushes on tough, manly politicians like McCain.

    And Cilizza himself:

    My job is to assess not the rightness of each argument but to deal in the real world of campaign politics in which perception often (if not always) trumps reality.

    There’s no contradiction. In both cases, actual work is eschewed in favor of empty story-telling. One might attribute this to laziness, if not stupidity — but it pays too well for that.

  47. 47
    aimai says:

    The ACA is a perfect example of this. Its a fact that literally millions of people in this country will have health insurance, some for the first time, some after long periods without it, many at vulnerable times of their lives when they are unemployed, between jobs, or after having acquired a serious illness/pre-existing condition. MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.

    A responsible human being, let alone a responsible press corps, would actually value that and wonder what would replace it if the Republican party had its way. What does it mean that MILLIONS OF PEOPLE have health care? What would it mean if MILLIONS OF PEOPLE were bumped back down to the status of uninsured and uninsurable? This is literally a life or death question for MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.

    Sorry for all the all caps but I think its important–because even in a country of 300 million 24 Million people is a lot of people whose lives are going to be immesurably improved, every day, by the ACA. And when the permanent whine fest/oligarch felching right wing lickspittles of the Republican party and Fox news complain about the presumed 31 million who will still not be covered in the future because they fall into the Medicaid gap caused by Right wing intransigence the sane thing to do is to talk about how we can get them insured, not merely bitch and moan about it.

    Chris Cilizza should be ashamed of himself just qua human being. Its not possible to take a neutral stance on this. It just isn’t. And anyone who does is actively aiding and abetting the criminal conspiracy to kill people that the Republican party has become.

  48. 48

    This is simple.

    They fellate the right.

    They hate us because we won’t fellate them.

    I welcome their hatred.

  49. 49
    Waspuppet says:

    @Kay:

    They do whole segments on “did we go too far with X?”

    True, although I’m still waiting for those “Did we go too far with Bill Clinton?” segments. But it’s only been 20 years.

  50. 50
    Steeplejack says:

    Krugman had a good post on this issue yesterday:

    Dave Weigel looks at the disastrous initial media handling of the CBO report—CBOghazi, hah!—and addresses one of my pet peeves: reporting that skips right past the actual policy issues to speculation about how they will play politically. I think of this as “second-order” reporting, and it’s almost always a bad thing.

    [. . .]

    Not only does second-order reporting deny readers/viewers the information they should be getting; the truth is that nobody knows how any particular news item will play politically. What the political scientists tell us, in fact, is that most of what gets reported on in political journalism matters not at all: elections are primarily determined by economic developments and occasionally war, not by gaffes and all that. So reporting on the journalist’s view of how the perceptions of a budget document will affect the next election is a purely destructive action: not only does it divert scarce time and resources from reporting on the actual policy issue, it has zero value even in its ostensible goal of predicting future political developments.

  51. 51
    blueskies says:

    @Baud: This is a very good, succinct analysis of what Cillizia (I don’t even care enough to check that his name is spelled correctly) and his ilk.

  52. 52
    danielx says:

    I deal in the world as voters believe it is, not as I (or anyone else) thinks it should be.

    Sort of begs the question: what the fuck would Cillizza know about the beliefs of voters outside the Village?

  53. 53
    kindness says:

    Good links. Thanks.

    The biggest problem liberals/progressives face is that most the ‘inside’ people know what is going on. But it is in their interest to act as shills. And those ‘inside’ people know this about each other. And not one of them will publicly speak the truth about another ‘inside’ person. When they do every single one of the ‘inside’ people/organizations rises up and smacks the person speaking truth. Remember when ever anyone says Fox is just a marketing machine for the powerful rich? Even the ‘responsible’ ‘inside’ people criticize said person for being partisan, rude or worse yet wrong. Jesus I mean when a whole bunch of these folks are sticking up for the Fox White House press it’s lunacy.

    And proves the whole point of the article.

  54. 54
    Jay Rosen says:

    You wrote: One thing Rosen doesn’t remark on is this contradiction: On one hand, these savvy guys consider themselves hard-bitten realists who are above the kinds of simpering delusion that afflicts those of us who actually care about politics. On the other hand, they’re prone to embarrassing, gooey, man-crushes on tough, manly politicians like McCain.

    Okay. In my view, the key to understanding this is the clever way in which McCain conveys to journalists that he is one of them, someone capable of recognizing “partisan” idiocy for what it is, and delivering straight talk about it. The crush is narcissistic. Not self-love so much as an the inability to tell where they leave off and their reflection (in straight talking, tough talking McCain) begins.

    Remember Narcissus didn’t fall in love with himself, but with his reflection, which he didn’t recognize as “him.” So too with the press and McCain. It happened for a while with Christie too, though that’s over now. “He sees through what we see through.” That is the heart of it. Yes, it’s a delusion. But not an inexplicable contradiction.

  55. 55
    Kathleen says:

    @aimai:You’ve articulated my rage over this perfectly. The courtesans babble about how Food Stamps, health care, unemployment insurance, regulation of industry as if these are just chips in their political games. All of these issues affect people’s ability to survive. Some of these issues are literally life and death. And I totally believe that this behavior is immoral and, in the case of their pimping for the invasion of Iraq, criminal. Hamlet said it best. “It appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.” Indeed.

  56. 56
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Jay Rosen: Thank you Mr. Rosen for replying. Now that I’ve cleared you, any future comments should post automatically.

  57. 57
    Mandalay says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Thank you Mr. Rosen

    Nice tongue bath you got there.

  58. 58
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jay Rosen:

    This lot apparently has no capability for self examination or reflection, much like Narcissus. They cannot recognize themselves in the reflection, but they know they love the reflection to death.

  59. 59
    Cassidy says:

    Sumbitch. We don’t have the napkins set out yet, or the crystal, SOMEONE GET THE GODDAMN GOOD SILVER FROM THE HALL CABINET….shit. We’re never prepared for guests.

  60. 60
    geg6 says:

    @Cassidy:

    That was kind of my own thought. All I could think of was damn, I said fuck in my comment and now Jay Rosen knows what a foulmouthed a-hole I am.

  61. 61
    Anoniminous says:

    @Cacti:

    Ed Murrow? The guy who said:

    To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.

    He’s dead.

  62. 62
    the Conster says:

    @Jay Rosen:

    It’s less like they’re Narcissus and more like they’re all in a room together with two way mirrors, and they refuse to acknowledge that while they’re admiring themselves and each other in the mirrors, thanks to you and Alex Pareene and Charlie Pierce and the regular readers of Balloon Juice the code to their shtick has been cracked and we’re banging on the window via Twitter and blogs and pointing and laughing in utter contempt. They refuse to acknowledge this because they’re paid not to acknowledge this. Their mission as courtesans is to stay bought and justify what they’re doing to the others in the room with them. At some point soon the room will need to be poison gassed for the republic to survive.

  63. 63
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay: Your ability to turn common courtesy into material for trolling is truly impressive!

  64. 64
    different-church-lady says:

    @Cassidy: JESUS, CALM DOWN! Just get the Maker’s Mark and a rocks glass and talk to him for a bit while I get things ready.

  65. 65
    David M says:

    The man-crushes are not based on policy at all, in fact they usually depend on a lack of coherent policies.

  66. 66
    Mandalay says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Your ability to turn common courtesy into material for trolling is truly impressive!

    What you call laughably call “common courtesy” is servility.

  67. 67
    James E. Powell says:

    @Jay Rosen:

    Not self-love so much as an the inability to tell where they leave off and their reflection (in straight talking, tough talking McCain) begins.

    And this is very easy to do (or difficult to avoid depending on how you look at it) when nearly everyone in your professional world is doing the exact same thing, when your bosses are encouraging it because it is popular with the audience, and when one gets money and status from going along with the narrative of the season.

    One difference between the political press/media and the entertainment press/media is that members of the latter seem to know that they are merely part of the marketing and promotion. Members of the former seem to think they are something more, something valuable and important.

  68. 68
    Cervantes says:

    @Jay Rosen: Remember when Lesley Stahl actually filed a report to show how Reagan’s actions were a far cry from his rhetoric? “Nobody heard what you said,” she was told, because the TV pictures were too pretty. Whether that’s how it worked or not, Reagan won.

    You and Bob Somerby and Mike Schudson and others have written about it. Here’s how Ted Koppel explained it (channeling Reagan):

    I know you’re smarter about some things than I am, and I know there are some things we both perhaps don’t understand as well as we’d like. I know that experts drive you crazy like they sometimes drive me crazy. Let’s see if we can get right to the heart of this issue. We’re talking about freedom, the American way, evil empires, patriotism, some of the old eternal values that seem to have been shunted aside.

    Forget the experts, let’s just wave our flags and get right to the heart of the issue. That’s how it worked for Reagan, said Ted. Well, maybe it did.

    Now here we are, three decades after Lesley’s report, with a new version of “Nobody heard what you said.” And this time it’s much worse. This time it isn’t Dick Darman making fun of critical analysis — it isn’t even Ronald Reagan playing Mr. Shuck & Jive — this time it’s the press itself!

    Lazily, or stupidly, or in any case conveniently, too many in the elite media now decline to pin down important facts and state them. Thus can a Chris Cillizza say that his job is not to “assess the rightness of each argument” because, after all, “perception often (if not always) trumps reality.” And thus can a Chuck Todd aver that when Republicans tell lies about policy, it’s just that they have “successfully messaged against it” and that he, and the media, have no responsibility to correct the record.

    “Nobody heard what you said” has become “I’m not going to say it in the first place because that’s not what I’m paid to do.”

    Progress this ain’t.

  69. 69
    Jay Rosen says:

    @Cervantes: I remember. And I wrote about it.

    http://archive.pressthink.org/.....words.html

    Different interpretation than some had then.

  70. 70
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay: Just because you’ve never uttered the phrase “thank you” on line in your entire life doesn’t make that phrase servile.

  71. 71
    kuvasz says:

    Every single one of them need ten years working in a rice field.

  72. 72
    Cervantes says:

    @Jay Rosen: Thanks.

    Let me ask you a question:

    Nobody knows exactly when it happened. But at some point between Teddy White’s The Making of the President, 1960 and the Willie Horton ads in 1988, political journalism in this country lost the plot.

    I notice you did not mention Mark Hertsgaard here.

    (OK, not a question.)

    Here’s the question. It’s about your article:

    Somewhere in their dinosaur brains those who “live off” politics understand that the people who live for it could steal their constituency […]. Thus the constant ridicule of partisans. […] So this is what the savvy in the press do. Cultivate the political junkies. Dismiss and ridicule the activists, the “partisans.” Assess the tactics by which the masters of the game struggle to win. Turn the voters into an object, the behavior of which is subject to a kind of law that savvy journalists feel entitled to write.

    When did you first see this behavior? Are all activists and “partisans” dismissed and ridiculed equally? Does it depend on which party controls the Congress and/or the White House? What can we do about it?

    (OK, more than a question.)

  73. 73

    […] HT to dread pirate mistermix. […]

  74. 74
    Jay Rosen says:

    @Cervantes: When I noticed it is not of course a statement about when it began. But the behavior I am talking about there arose from the closed distance between political journalists and people reading them closely online, initially in comment threads, then over social media. At one time they could ignore those people, but as political journalists got drawn into the back and forth of social media they stated hearing from “the partisans” in the way they never had before. Thus:

    https://www.google.com/#q=site:twitter.com%2Fron_fournier+partisans

    Now they don’t have the same contempt for partisan operatives who are paid professionals in the political game, like a Ralph Reed or David Plouffe. These are “green room” partisans. Journalists know them, chat them up, trade information with them, and respect them because they understand how the game is played.

  75. 75
    Cervantes says:

    @Jay Rosen: Thanks again.

    But the behavior I am talking about there arose from the closed distance between political journalists and people reading them closely online, initially in comment threads, then over social media. At one time they could ignore those people, but as political journalists got drawn into the back and forth of social media they stated hearing from “the partisans” in the way they never had before.

    Sure, but then in your five-group schema, how do you distinguish between “junkies” (e.g., readers of The Fix) and “partisans” (e.g., some readers of The Fix?)? Is “partisans” a sub-set of “junkies”?

    Also, I agree that “‘green room’ partisans” are treated differently from on-line rabble, probably for the reason you suggest. But I do wonder: in your thought-experiment, have you controlled for the quality of commentary, both on line and on the air?

    As political journalists got drawn into the back and forth of social media they stated hearing from “the partisans” in the way they never had before.

    You write that “the savvy” wants to speak to and cultivate the junkies. Even at the risk of stirring up the unwashed “partisans”? Why do they engage with the latter? Is it simply human nature, a matter of being helplessly “drawn in”? What is the imperative? Aren’t Fournier et al. busy enough?

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