Journos Should Skip RNC, DNC

Conventions merely 'infomercials' for parties, junkets for reporters
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Aug 14, 2008 5:07 PM CDT
An image of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is projected on a screen as he speaks during a forum at the UNITY '08 Convention in Chicago, Sunday, July 27, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – The press should quit covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, argues Jack Shafer in Slate. Little more than a four-day “infomercial” for the host party,  each would be better covered by “sportscasters like Bob Costas,” who “know how to make a game with a foregone conclusion seem entertaining.” Journalists defend their coverage—but they also enjoy the booze-filled, expenses-paid vacation, says Shafer.

The conventions no longer determine the presidential nominee, and the campaigns typically announce the VP choices in advance as well. Party platforms mean little, and even the best speeches are rarely newsworthy. “If the political press corps were honest, they’d start every convention story with the finding that nothing important happened that day and that your attention is not needed.”