Amen, Deborah Howell

The WaPo’s ombudsman, Deborah Howell, joins the choir pleading for more substance in campaign coverage:

My monitoring of political stories since Nov. 12, done with my assistant Jean Hwang, shows that almost twice as many “horse race” stories (675) have been written as stories on issues (295) and biographical background (99). Part of that reflects the long primary campaign and the number of candidates….

[The candidates’] voting records should be explored extensively. Is Obama really relentlessly liberal? Is McCain really so conservative? Are both posing as centrists? While The Post has written about who advises the two candidates, I want to know what the advice is and whether it is being taken.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.