‘Boys on the Bus’: Politico, twitter forces of good or evil?

This is the third part of this series… here is a link to the first part and here is the second part.

This is based on Peter Hamby’s article (warning… REALLY LONG).

Hamby describes Politico as “aggressive political news outfit that covers Washington like ESPN covers sports, from all angles” — I don’t think that’s really the right fit. I would compare it more to Deadspin or The Big Lead.

I think the hatred for Politico is overstated (and said by people who read it quite often). I was talking with someone who claims to follow politics pretty closely and he had never even heard of Politico (let alone visited it, as a check of his Internet history revealed).


The echo-chamber of Twitter is very dangerous — I’ll admit that I don’t like twitter and have long considered giving it up (and have a couple of times). Most of the onus of Twitter is on the user, you need to go and find all the sources and have a mix of people (you don’t have a website to help you find balanced coverage).

Still, I think Twitter is ridiculously overrated — even if a larger percentage of voters are on it are they following John Dickerson, Chris Cillizza, Nate Silver and Ezra Klein? I doubt it (and those are just some of the famous ones).

“Twitter is a really imperfect medium,” said Maggie Haberman, a senior reporter for Politico. “I use it. We all use it. But the reality is that 140 characters is not ideal and I don’t think that anybody would argue that it is.”

I find the argument that we are in the “golden age of political news” (made by Tim Miller) iffy: we certainly get a lot of reporting but we get much more opinion than reporting.

Nate Silver recently tweeted about reporters being on twitter during debates:

I find it interesting that campaigns cared so much about tweets since users generally don’t read back people’s timeline… once the tweet is out in the world it is gone really quickly (as opposed to an article that is read throughout the day).

I agree with the idea that “a link is a link” but it’s also important to note that most people don’t get somewhere by someone sending them a link, search engines or typing something into a browser (and then clicking around) is MUCH more common.

PEW: “Twitter users are not representative of the public.”
Only a “narrow sliver” of Americans—just 13%—were using Twitter during the fall
campaign. Twitter users are younger and skew liberal. And only 3% of Twitter users “regularly or sometimes tweet or re-tweet news or news headlines on Twitter.”

He who must not be named

The abundance of unnamed sources really bothers me, it’s not new but it’s really bad. You need a compelling reason to allow a source to go anonymous and the quote needs to be REALLY good and it really needs to add something to the story (I don’t like stories that are built around unnamed sources).


~ by realfactsandbeer on September 7, 2013.

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