‘Boys on the Bus’ Stuart Stevens attempts to get even

What sparked this throwback newsy, journalism post (and probably the first in a series)? Mainly this article (warning 95 pages), but also I’ve been listening to political podcasts from the election and have no had time to reflect on the coverage of the 2012 election.

A few caveats before we begin: I have never been an embed on a presidential campaign, I have never been involved in the typical daily presidential coverage and I’m probably going to be overly critical of what I think is a really good piece that was written by Peter Hamby (someone who is more knowledgable about this stuff than I am).

Mitt Romney’s campaign might be a bad example. Romney is incredible risk averse and that showed in the general election. Some have described Romney’s strategy as being as boring as possible and making the choice purely a referendum on the first term of Barack Obama. I am also leerily of generalizing based on one case.

Stuart’s lament
Stuart Stevens, as well as many of Romney’s aides, was trashed by many media members (and the Romney folks got some hate in Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom universe). Stevens isn’t shy about firing back on the state of the media. I don’t mind the behind-the-scenes bickering (personally I advise ignoring it) as long as it doesn’t stretch into the working relationships.

Stevens’ point on the youth doing the campaigns is going to take a little rant. What older professional (who probably have some say in their assignment) wants to be an embed? Campaigns work against reporters rather than work with them and the conditions are miserable from what I have heard (you basically put the rest of your life on hold). You want the seasoned guys on your campaign and doing great journalism? Cooperate with them! Give them time with the candidate, let them do investigative reporting (even if it hurts the candidates shot at winning) — I think inexperienced reporters benefit a campaign that can manipulate (or spin) the news.

However, if you are covering politics (or anything with polls or have a political science degree) you should know and understand crosstabs. The embeds also should know better than to go to an aide with that question — they could look it up or ask their editors/producers.

Need for Reed? I have no problem with reporters ignoring Ralph Reed (more power to them on that), he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia and lost the primary in 2006! That’s the last semi-relevant thing he did. What general population cares what he has to say and what percentage of the population even remembers him?

I thought Hamby’s point of the Romney crew waging war on journalists was a little strong but well taken, from all accounts it was rough.

Hemby’s caveats

I agree with Hemby that access is a good thing, not being on the news (especially if your opponent is) can be very bad for a candidates future.

The complications of Romney as a challenger are important and should be noted for the record, but I think that is much more useful to note than covering a President seeking reelection.

I enjoyed Hemby’s note that he has been guilty of some of these things as well — I will waste as little time as possible crying that he is a hypocrite in the next chapter of this series.

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~ by realfactsandbeer on September 7, 2013.

2 Responses to “‘Boys on the Bus’ Stuart Stevens attempts to get even”

  1. […] Did you miss part 1 of the series? Click here for that. […]

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

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