Looking for article about journalism and political savvy
October 19, 2012 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Looking for article about journalism being too concerned with political "savvy"

I'm looking for an article from the last year or so, which complained that journalists too often try to write from the position of political insiders, wishing to demonstrate "savvy", rather than from a position of principle or journalistic inquiry.

For example, they will report on a politician's announcement, speech or debate firstly on the basis of how it would be received by their party and opponents, and how it advances or impedes their political agenda, rather than on the basis of how it affects the nation or its consistency with facts or the party's principles.

I think it's an important observation, and I've often wanted to point people to the article. It's one of the things that has gradually turned me off the Economist, for example. But this is one of those un-Googleable queries. Hoping someone here can help!
posted by snarfois to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There is a strong case to be made for this and a notable person who did it was James Fallows in his book Breaking the News all the way back in the late '90s.

You might google for the phrase "horse race"--I may remember this more recent piece.
posted by steinsaltz at 5:06 PM on October 19, 2012

I am pretty sure you're thinking of this and this by Jay Rosen on what he calls "The Church of the Savvy." He started exploring this thought in 2004 with this article about how "Journalism itself is a religion."
posted by deanc at 5:25 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sorry I don't have the specific article you're looking for, but just so you know, people have been writing up this point for a long time — over a decade, at least. I remember reading a piece during the 2000 presidential race that took a New York Times article about Gore as an example. The Times article said something along the lines of: "Al Gore has attempted to position himself as an opponent of drug companies." This was criticized as reflexively cynical; the author said it would be refreshing to see the Times simply explain the substance of Gore's views on drug companies, taking it for granted that he means what he says.
posted by John Cohen at 5:54 PM on October 19, 2012

Yes: it was Jay Rosen's 2007 article in PressThink I was thinking of. So it wasn't recent, I merely encountered it recently. Thanks deanc for the link, and everyone for the broader context. Fallows' book looks terrific.
posted by snarfois at 12:57 PM on October 20, 2012

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