In the pantheon of things that American news consumers probably shouldn’t care about, the political donations of the Bush cousins, nephews, and nieces sits pretty high:


Jonathan Bush Jr., the president’s first cousin, gave $2,300 to Romney. Doro Bush has given $2,100 to Romney. John Prescott Ellis, a former NBC journalist and a nephew of President Bush’s father, said his wife wrote a check to Giuliani’s campaign, though the contribution is not listed in Federal Election Commission records.


But according to this morning’s Washington Post, which way the Bush nieces, nephews, and cousins are leaning in this year’s Republican primary season is worth a front-page story of about fifteen-hundred words. The article is a perfect example of the kind of horse-race coverage that so dominates American political journalism, and it’s the kind of thing that eats up valuable column inches and broadcast minutes that could be better spent actually telling us what the candidates for president actually think about issues, rather than what the wealthy elite think about the candidates.


The Bush family dynasty is endlessly interesting to Americans who care about the inside baseball of electoral politics. Those same people care that Jeb Bush’s twenty-three-year-old son endorsed Rudy Giuliani. The problem is, these people tend overwhelmingly to be journalists. So instead of wave after wave of articles explaining and analyzing the positions of the various Republican candidates on all the seriously important issues this country faces, we get wave after wave of thumbsuckers about what a bunch of wealthy twenty-somethings think about the candidates. Such coverage doesn’t really move the ball any further downfield.

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.