Two Excellent Examples of Campaign Journalism
Just one day after I defended campaign journalism by saying that there aren't enough differences between Clinton and Obama to produce the in-depth pieces the public is craving, I've found two such pieces. But by highlighting the many minor differences between Clinton and Obama (and in one of the two articles, Edwards), the pieces kind of underscore my point.
The first piece comes from the Las Vegas Sun. It acknowledges that the candidates basically have the same goals when it comes to domestic policy, but drills down on six issues and makes note of the differences on the margins. At times, the best the Sun can do is point to small differences in emphasis or focus. But if you're interested in learning more about Obama vs. Clinton vs. Edwards on economic issues, health care, education, nuclear power, internet gambling, and immigration, check out the Sun's good work.
The second comes from CQ Politics, where they've taken a long look at Clinton's and Obama's records in the Senate. Neither candidate, CQ argues, really buck the party line all that often, and neither has taken the lead on major pieces of legislation. Clinton is a more incremental in her approach than Obama, but neither can rightfully claim to be a true "agent of change." In fact, John McCain meets the definition they both put forward on the stump better than they do. It's quite long and quite good; find it here.
So, yes, you can do in-depth pieces on the candidates. But you can't do all that many: now that the Sun and CQ Politics have done these pieces, they won't be able to do something similar anytime soon. If they want to publish every single day.... they have to take rightly deserved kudos and head back to the horserace.