30 August 2006

Heating Up

As I've indicated previously, I have some difficulty figuring out what Republican gubernatorial candidate Sarah Palin thinks on certain issues. Over at ADN's blog on the campaign, some of the commentors seem to be having a field day pointing to some Palin inconsistencies. Kyle Hopkins begins to address some of them:

I'll never disagree with people who say the stories could be meatier or the questions could be tougher. It's true. Always. That said, every candidate has to be held the same level of high accountability, and that's the goal over the next several weeks.

Of course, I'll agree. But there's only so much that can be done in a relatively short news story, be it in a newspaper or on radio or television. At some point, people just begin to tune out, baffled by the complexity of it all.

Part of the problem is that the general public is not nearly as wonkish and or politically-interested as the media that report on elections and policy are. I would gladly produce to a newscast full of pieces on policy and elections but I know that not all my listeners are interested in that. Part of the news business is, unfortunately, giving people what they want and not necessarily what they need. (To be fair, the public also needs non-policy-related news.)

One of my favorite parts of this job is talking with people about the topics they're most passionate about, whether it be the superintendent's latest program for the school or the woman who is researching how reindeer came to Alaska. One of the reasons I give Andrew Halcro any say and credibility at all is that he came into KNOM in April and sat for a very long interview, during which I was able to pepper him with all sorts of questions about all manner of topics. I can't wait for the opportunity to do the same with Sarah Palin. But how many people will listen to the resulting story?

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