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Iowa: Watch!...Watch!...Watch!... Why Are You Watching?

By       Message Russ Baker     Permalink
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Collins' piece is cheekily headlined "Feel Free to Ignore Iowa."

Feel free? With Collins' news-side colleagues holding open our gullets and pouring Iowa down day after day?

Not to blame Collins, who is a fine essayist and humorist, but her paper is a huge part of the problem. Using the Lexis-Nexis articles database, searching only the New York Times for articles with both the words "Iowa" and "caucuses," during the most recent 90-day stretch, I got 409 results. (Not all are entirely or principally about Iowa, but many of them are.) Between just Christmas day and the 29th (five days) I counted 24 different reporter-writer bylines within these results.

Why do they now tell us it doesn't matter? Because, having filled their pages with entertaining horse race material, they now (You choose): (a) realize they're doing everyone a disservice; (b) can cynically put themselves into the "responsible" camp at this late date; (c) might like to stop certain candidates who are surging in Iowa by dampening interest in the result.

Whatever this is about, and most likely it's about nothing but numbers, and low hanging fruit, and laziness, what we have here is: "look--look--look--look--... Why are you looking? Nothing useful here!"

Why does this matter that the media wastes so much of its energy and our bandwidth with nonsense? Because it keeps us from asking the important questions. Like: Is the GOP so shallow and -- well, dumb -- that this cast of pathetic characters is the best it can find? Or are they conceding the election to Obama and making Jeb Bush look positively presidential by comparison?

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With such zaniness, it's all great fun, of course, a good substitute for watching football or professional wrestling. But, tell me again: what does it really have to do with the price of bread -- or the next war on the horizon?


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