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Friday, May 11, 2012

Journalism 101

In order to get a job in the media covering politics today, one of the most important qualifications is the ability to determine what information is actually relevant and of interest to the average voter. I offer here a simple tutorial, designed to give some basic examples that should provide a workable framework for that decision-making process. I hope that you find it useful.

1. According to the mainstream media, it's somehow relevant to the 2012 Presidential campaign that 30 years ago Mitt Romney strapped a dog carrier (with a dog in it) to the roof of his car.

It's not relevant that Obama, as a child in Indonesia, was given dog to eat.

2. It's also relevant that nearly 50 years ago Romney may or may not have engaged in a high school prank involving another student who may or may not have been gay (and who died in 2004, making him unavailable to either confirm or deny the story).

Obama's college thesis and transcripts, his close associations with Marxists and domestic terrorists and radicals, and anything he did while Senator in Illinois are not relevant.

3. It is relevant that Anne Romney spent $900 of her own money on a blouse.

It is not relevant that Michelle Obama spent $2500 on shoes for a trip to a soup kitchen, or that her latest vacation cost the taxpayers $500k. It is also not relevant that we paid for the first daughter's spring break soiree with her entire class in Mexico - just weeks after Americans were warned about how dangerous it was for tourists to travel to Mexico.

4. It is relevant that Michelle Obama wants to fight obesity and promote good health by growing healthy food in the White House gardens.

It is not relevant that Michelle often chooses burgers and ice cream for herself and her daughters, and the President himself orders hot wings at 1am.

5. It is relevant that Anne Romney never held a job outside her home.

It is not relevant that she raised five boys, helped support her husband, and battled both breast cancer and MS. It is also not relevant that she never asked the government to pay her extensive healthcare expenses.

6. It is relevant that Mitt Romney is personally against gay marriage. It is also relevant that President Obama is personally in favor of gay marriage.

It is not relevant that they both agree that whether or not gay marriage is legal should be left up to the states.

The short form is even simpler: If Obama did it and you can make it look good, it's relevant. If you can't, it isn't newsworthy. If Romney did it (or might have done it or you can convince people that it's likely he did something like it) and it makes him look bad, then it is relevant. If you can't make it look bad, then why even bother bringing it up?

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