On MSNBC a few moments ago, Monica Novotny announced Barack Obama’s participation today in an economic summit at Carnegie Mellon University. Wow, what a great opportunity for the network to report on substance rather than horserace-y silliness! What a great opportunity for us to learn, with more detail and nuance, about the presumptive Democratic nominee’s plans for getting us out of our current economic quagmire!

But then: This. Below. Emphasis ours.

We have a campaign alert for you. Barack Obama is getting ready to talk about the economy at Carnegie Mellon University. It’s part of an economic summit taking place at the school this morning. MSNCB’s Lee Cowan is covering the Obama campaign, and joins us live on the phone from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Okay, so, Lee, we’ll be watching the event, obviously, they’re gonna be talking the economy. But let’s get to the good stuff, tonight’s fundraiser. Clinton and Obama. What are you hearing?

Cowan was hearing about good stuffy debt-repayment and Clinton’s role in the Obama campaign; his audience was not, therefore, hearing about Obama’s economic policy prescriptions. Novotny might have been hearing the sound of us groaning. Loudly.

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