'Journalists aren't paying enough attention to this huge story...Instead, news organizations are obsessed, as always, with horse-race coverage'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2020, 4:03pm PT  

In her Sunday piece headlined "The media is blowing its chance to head off an Election Day debacle" at WaPo, the great Margaret Sullivan sounds like pretty much every BRAD BLOG or BradCast rant I've offered over my past 16+ years .

Just a few selected samples from Sullivan today...

If Election Day 2020 turns into a full-blown disaster, no one can say there weren't plenty of warning signs.

There were the Iowa caucuses, when glitches with an untested new app delayed the state's election results for havoc-filled days that turned into weeks. Or the Texas Democratic primary, where some Super Tuesday voters waited in line to vote for more than six hours while others simply gave up. Or the California primary that same day, when faulty new touch-screen voting equipment triggered hours-long waits in Los Angeles County.

If comparable disaster in November robs well-intentioned voters of their chance to be heard - or worse, gives bad-faith partisans an excuse to undermine the credibility of the vote - then the news media will bear a share of the blame.

"If"? And only "a share of"? She is kind. [Emphasis added below...]

As it stands, journalists aren't paying enough attention to this huge story in front of their eyes. Instead, news organizations are obsessed, as always, with horse-race coverage.

Political reporters scrutinize every public-opinion poll as if it were the I Ching. Cable pundits blather about the potential impact of the candidates' latest gaffes, despite how notoriously bad they are at such prognostications.

What they are not obsessed with, sadly, is the very core of Election Day: voting itself.

Yes, there is plenty of attention paid when something goes wrong, as in Iowa or on Super Tuesday. But overall, the coverage tends to be haphazard, after-the-fact, and not oriented enough to deeper issues such as the pressures and inducements for governments to invest in untried new voting machines.

Sullivan goes on to correctly argue: "I don't buy the argument that there are insufficient newsroom resources." She is right not to buy it. But, of course, The BRAD BLOG and BradCast have far more resources than WaPo or NYTimes. So maybe that explains why we have been yelling and screaming this same argument while actually reporting and warning about all of these things at the same time before they become disasters for voters and democracy itself over the past decade and a half.

Anyway, go read the whole thing, and feel free to share far and wide. Maybe someday someone other than us will notice before the disasters strike.

Also, since we've had our hands more than full actually covering those disasters in advance this year (again), we didn't even get to celebrate BRAD BLOG's 16th anniversary virtually at all here a month or so back. So please feel free to hit our tip-jar. While it might seem like it must be far fuller already than Jeff Bezos', given the resources we seem to be able to come up with to cover this, we could still use a lot of help on the off chance that corporate media fails to heed Sullivan's call to arms as much as they've failed to heed ours for so many years.