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Second-Tier Candidates Redux

With respect to yesterday's post, we missed a good link, actually two good links. We refer you to Edward B. Colby's "Stop the Winnowing Already!" in the Columbia Journalism Review's CJR Daily, which has this to say about the MSM's weak coverage of second-tier candidates:

It is way too early for...narrowing the field. In fact, as Time's Karen Tumulty wrote in a recent blog post, "the media seem to be getting ahead of the voters" already: "What's the hurry, ten months before the first caucus, to winnow the field to a few candidates deemed viable -- say, three at most from each party?" While Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and Richardson "are getting all but ignored by the national media," Tumulty wrote, celebrity has defined the leading candidates in the press narrative, while "actual issues" have of course been shortchanged.

2008 is supposed to be the most "wide open" presidential race Americans have seen in eighty years. This election is of crucial importance -- the winner will have to deal with Iraq, Iran, North Korea, massive environmental issues, a staggering deficit, etc. But the country will only get the kind of national debate it desperately needs if the political press resists the time-honored temptation to put the horserace above all else. Cast the media spotlight to the wider field of candidates and let them duke it out for a while. That just might give journalists on the campaign trail better stories, too.

Readers are encouraged to take up the cause and email the editors of the top rags, mags and tube news programs, urging them to report more on the whole field.