Journalistic laziness is one of my biggest pet peeves. And as much as I love online journalism, I have to admit that the internet has made that laziness even worse. The ‘mainstream’ political sites aren’t really that different from the political blogs, so writers are able to just cook up a quick response and fire it off without much actual work or even thought. The only difference is that their quick responses are accorded much more weight by the rest of the media than ours.
Over at PoliticsNJ, Steve Kornacki’s piece on Thursday’s Corzine rally illustrates the problem. Completely ignoring reality, he writes that “Corzine did little more than thank Democratic state Chairwoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and Assembly Speaker Albio Sires and remind the audience that the deadline to register to vote was nearing before turning the show over to Clinton, whom he called ‘my hero.’ ” Was he in the same room I was?
One of the most rousing moments of the speech — if not the whole rally — came when Senator Corzine rallied his supporters with an optimistic vision that “we can make sure we can have the kind of New Jersey that sends the message to America that we’re looking out for the middle class, we’re looking out for our seniors and our children, that we believe in the American promise.” There was certainly a lot of praise for Clinton. But anyone who was at the rally can tell you that Corzine’s speech was much more than just thanking Bonnie Watson Coleman and Albio Sires. And when Clinton spoke, rather than “outshining” Corzine, it was all about putting the spotlight on the Senator and his record of getting things done for the people of New Jersey.
Kornacki’s coverage of the rally was anything but a story about the actual rally. It was his preconceived notions about what the rally would be and what the rally meant. I don’t have any problem with political writers interpreting events. But they have a duty to be faithful to the actual events. Some writers have a bad habit of writing the bulk of an article based on what they think is going to happen and then finish up by plugging in a few facts or quotes. I’m guessing that’s what happened here.