Todd Purdum has a feature in Vanity Fair this month that is so rich with insight, color, and analysis regarding the communication challenges facing the Obama administration that I immediately plugged the article into my graduate course syllabus for the semester.
“The sheer growth of the federal government, the paralysis of Congress, the systemic corruption brought on by lobbying, the trivialization of the ‘news’ by the media, the willful disregard for facts and truth, these forces have made today’s Washington a depressing and dysfunctional place,” writes Purdum in the subscription protected article. “They have shaped and at times hobbled the presidency itself.”
Purdum describes what’s historically different today about Washington even in comparison to the Clinton era. He relates the loss of civil discourse, the structural dysfunction of redistricting that enables House members to be ever more hyper-partisan, and the roadblock of the filibuster. He also focuses on the loss of bi-partisan socializing among Congressional members, as Republicans sleep in their offices rather than maintain a home and social ties in Washington, DC , avoiding the risk of being “polluted” by the Capital’s “cozy culture.” And of course, there is the ever stronger influence and financial might of lobbyists.
I agree with everything said in the second paragraph. Every clause is correct.
At least to what I already think. I will have to be very careful reading it, then, to make sure it is not a case of confirmation bias. It will have to have some facts that really do demonstrate that there is a quantitative difference in discourse today in Washington than before and that the media is really a big cause of the problem, rather than simply an effect.
I will have take some time reading the article and digesting it. What? It is behind a pay wall and can not be accessed. Of course, I forgot it is being published by the same media that it is railing against. While it may be correct – it is a logical fallacy to belive someone’s job description means that they can not possibly be correct – it does serve as a reminder that contemplating one’s navel like this is part of the media.
What would be important is not just ‘recognizing’ there is a problem but to also suggest pathways to: 1) verify that the model is correct , and 2) find solutions.