September 15, 2003

: Don’t change the story, Dr. Dean…

The character of Howard Dean in the press master narrative of his campaign must shoot-from-the-hip in his public remarks. After all, that’s what people like about him, right (how does the press know this)? Dean, however, is changing his ways, getting a little overt coaching about what to say and how to say it (we saw this on HBO!). He’s changing his narrative without press permission.

As a result, you get interesting–but politically useless–articles such as this one by Jodi Wilgoren of The New York Times. It’s a good inside look at how campaigns work, i.e. how they react to other campaigns and the press. But what’s most interesting to me is this notion–clearly implied–that Dean is doing something untoward by changing. And, in fact, he is: By changing his “tactics” he is changing the narrative, and this upsets reporters who have grown used to the shoot-from-the-hip Dean.

5 Responses

  1. JSteele 

    You don’t think Dean’s shifts will be portrayed as “yet another inconsistency” (Judy Woodruff).

  2. Attempts to thwart the master narrative will always draw negative speculation. Gore in 2000, on the other hand, had a negative master narrative, so the press took every opportunity to reinforce it. Gore lost no matter what he did. The press will always make the most dramatic choice.

  3. You know, isn’t it just sad that these rules exist at all? The press is just…well…”Pathetic”.

  4. Yes, it seems pathetic, but such things are structural in nature. Individuals don’t have a choice in the matter unless they’re willing to buck the system.

  5. Rebecca 

    Yes, it’s been a “pathetic” week for journos. First Christiane Amanpour confesses to Tina Brown that CNN was “intimidated” in it’s coverage of the Iraq war by no less than Fox News! Then John Burns had a long article in Editor&Publisher about the comtemptible behavior of his journo cohorts covering (or not!) pre-war, war and post-war Iraq. Finally, WaPo star reporter, Dana Milbank is caught in a lie in his “report” on Dick Cheney’s appearance on Sunday’s Meet the Press. Yes, I’d say “pathetic” pretty well sums it up!