Wednesday, August 27

Another New York Times Head-Scratcher

Jodi Wilgoren writes a puzzling piece in today's Times chronicling Howard Dean's New York leg of his summer tour. If you saw the event on CSPAN2 last night or the replay on CSPAN today, you saw Dean wade through the crowd after his speech. The crowd I saw was very New York. Lotsa different kinds of folks with lotsa different kinds of accents. Everyone who was there - including Tom Tomorrow and my friend Russ DiBello - saw the same thing.

But Ms. Wilgoren felt compelled to toss in this curious observation which alleged journalists (or journalist wanna-bes) cynically fall back on to make their editors happy:

But the presidential-style trip could increase the risk of Dr. Dean peaking too early - and revealed other potential pitfalls. Holding oceans of blue Dean placards at every stop were nearly all white hands, a homogeneity the campaign tried to counter with a rainbow of supporters on stage, which only drew more attention to the lack of diversity in the audience. The feisty crowds were filled with Birkenstock liberals whose loudest ovations always followed Dr. Dean's antiwar riff - there were few union members, African-Americans, or immigrants...people buying the "Doctor is in" buttons were mostly aging flower children and the tongue-studded next generation.
Oo. Edgy reporting there. Now Tom Tomorrow is still not sold on Dean, but he does come to his defense regarding this little bit of sloppy reportage:

I think the reporter accidentally wandered into a Phish concert and got confused. What I saw was a crowd full of normal people from various walks of life - there was no scent of patchouli hanging in the air, nor were there any drum circles or giant puppets. But that's the media narrative, and they have to stick to it: Dean, the outsider candidate running from the far-left fringe. And what puts him on the far-left fringe, in the media's eyes? The fact that he refuses to fit neatly into the other media narrative: that of the enormously popular wartime President, whose challengers must tread lightly or risk appearing "divisive" in these troubled times.

What I saw last night was a centrist candidate - too conservative for my tastes, honestly - who nonetheless has the cojones to take on the President of the United States.
And the media - including the "lib'rul" New York Times - have a very hard time with that.