The Pundits On The Bus (Go, “Blah Blah Blah”)

For AJR, Paul Farhi explores the present and future of campaign trail reporting:

Michael Shear, who will cover the Obama White House for the Washington Post, calls the general drift [away from the campaign trail for reasons of cost and increasingly coy candidates] of the political press “pernicious”: “What we in daily journalism may be evolving to is covering [the candidates] purely by watching TV and listening to the pundits.”

Which actually might not be so different from being out on the trail, to hear Matt Bai (New York Times Magazine) describe it.

“I really couldn’t take the crossfire on the campaign bus,” says Bai, who met his wife, a Fox News producer, on the trail in 2000. “It gets pretty tiresome to hear reporters pontificating to each other about what the candidates are doing wrong. I just can’t stand it. It’s mostly people who haven’t [covered] a campaign before saying, ‘They’re spending their money wrong, the speech is wrong, he’s doing everything wrong.’… It’s like watching cable all day. It’s just noise.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.