Monday, September 3, 2012

America's campaigns and Europe's catastrophe

Here's two superb essays in quick succession by Walter Russell Mead, in the space of a day or two. First, a condemnation of lazy media overage of American politics. Political strategy has become far more sophisticated and data driven in the last ten years, he says:

The legacy media is too stupid and too lazy to understand the event on which it expends more resources than any other — and as long as enough eyeballs are attracted by the show, it doesn’t really care.

This is not a conspiracy and it is not the result of bias; it’s not clear whether reporting the real plans and calculations of the strategist would make either or both sides look better or worse. But it should underline the point that what the “news” industry labors to produce during presidential campaigns is infotainment pure and simple. There is no competitive pressure to unearth the actual dynamics of the campaign strategies of either side, only a pressure to score with gotcha and gaffe scoops or otherwise to present the reality of entertainment clothed in the appearance of actual news.

And he follows up with a very good essay on the Eurozone:

Have we all been underestimating the gravity of the European crisis? That deeply unsettling question threatens to wreck the world’s peace of mind in what could just be a much more turbulent fall than people expect. The American election and much else could be wrenched out of shape by new and much more dangerous developments in the world’s worst man-made policy disaster of the last generation.

Europe is in a bind:

Most leaders agree that Europe’s problems can’t be solved without some big institutional changes, but that will require some referendums. Nobody wants to take European questions to the voters right now because fed up voters in many countries are itching for a chance to say no.

In other words, Europe can’t work without changes it can’t make.

Just superb stuff, albeit unsettling. The man is just off a plane from India and produces more insight than whole journalistic and academic armies put together.



No comments:

Post a Comment