Friday, February 27, 2004

Journalism in a vacuum

Courtesy Political Wire:

"Is a movement about its leader or the person who put it together?" the Boston Globe asks.

"That question is fueling a behind-the-scenes struggle between Howard Dean and his former campaign manager, Joe Trippi, as they jockey for control of the campaign's bounty of grass-roots supporters and search for personal direction after the former Vermont governor's failed bid for the presidency."

On his weblog, Dean says he'll announce his plans for a new organization on March 18. And on his weblog, Trippi is soliciting former Dean for America supporters for his new effort.

This is not a criticism of PW in particular, but isn't this just another example of "let's you and him fight" journalism? There is nothing in these stories to suggest that Dean and Trippi are spear-heading conflicting efforts. In fact, I've heard reports that they are communicating very closely with each other.

The press loves conflict and would love nothing better then to report that Trippi and Dean are fighting over the same pie. They will emphasize any story that suggests that that is what is happening because it fits their prejudices. It behooves us not to fall for it.

Aziz has some comments on this same issue over on the Dean Nation blog. He points out that this kind of thing naturally results when the people involved don't communicate enough about their plans. He specifically fingers Trippi but I think Dean should come in for an equal share of the "blame".

But then, neither Joe nor Howard seem to be all that adroit at dealing with the media.


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