I recently received an interview request a political reporter from a nationally prominent news org, from whom and which doesn't matter; the problem it reveals is structural, and my despair aimed at the tragic failings of the game and not any of its particular players. 1/x
He wanted to ask me, in light of the upcoming Trump/Biden debate, about Reagan's successful debate strategies in 1980 and 1984. He had framed two thoughtful questions, and I told him that, but also this: that "I've set a condition for my media interviews on the election..." 2/x
" I consider it irresponsible to discuss November merely in terms of how many votes (popular vote; electoral votes) each candidate receives without nothing that President Trump has made it clear that his goal is retaining power independent of how many votes he receives...." 3/x
"At this historic juncture, I consider lending my voice, expertise, moral authority, and intellectual reputation to any campaign report that does not acknowledge this fact--that treats 2020 as a 'normal' election..." 4/x
"..to be analyzed exclusively with reference to past presidential elections--an abdication of my citizenship responsibilities...." 5/x
" So if you can allow me the briefest moment to offer this as a caveat to my electoral analysis, I'd be honored to discuss those two excellent historical comparisons." He replied... 6/x
"Unfortunately, I just can’t agree to a precondition for an interview, so taking the piece in another direction." I replied, "Thanks for the response... 7/x
"I hope you might give due consideration to the spirit of my point... 8/x
"You have a profoundly challenging job... 9/x
"Historians will be studying these news reports in decades and possibly even centuries to come.... 10/x
"They will surely find it more than passing strange the depth of attention given to a debate that, polls now suggest, can only have a vanishingly small impact on the outcome of the contest..." 11/x
", even as overwhelming evidence showed that questions of fraud, intimidation, and violence spurred by the words and actions of an aspiring dictator would be far, far more salient." 12/x
If our republic dies, or if people die defending it this November, the bias of our political media toward drama criticism will have made a greater than zero contribution to the outcome.
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