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September 08, 2010

An inside look at election coverage

Labor Day used to be the traditional kick off for political campaigns though we now live in nonstop, year-round campaign mode. But as we approach election day in November, we should steel ourselves for an even increased focus on the trivial and sensational. If you want to better understand why election coverage is so vapid, see Michael Hastings's excellent GQ article Hack: Confessions of a Presidential Campaign Reporter on his experience in the 2008 elections. (Hastings is the reporter whose story in Rolling Stone resulted in General Stanley McChrystal being fired from his job in charge of the war in Afghanistan.) In 2007, Hastings was assigned by Newsweek to cover the front runners in the 2008 election and his increasing disgust with the kind of access politics that was required resulted in him quitting midway through and moving to another beat.

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