The nonstop political news coverage

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You have to wonder if our nonstop, 24-hour political coverage is truly beneficial. Or does this political obsession breed cynicism with both the process and the players?

As a self-proclaimed political junkie, I absorb the daily details of the electoral process with unbridled glee. This nonstop vetting and instant analysis is fascinating to me. But much of this fascination is akin to watching a train wreck.

This column -- by way of explanation -- started 34 years ago to monitor the exploits of my small children. It has now morphed into a political assessment trying to make some sense of this great process of governing.

But now, round-the-clock political coverage gives us more insight than we can honestly absorb, much less understand.

There is absolute unanimous agreement that our election cycles are too long and far too costly.

Did anyone imagine that a national election would generate in excess of a billion dollars in expenditures by both major political parties?

Or who could have foretold of two national television networks -- Fox and MSNBC -- taking such polar opposite stances on politics and portraying partisan opinion as legitimate news coverage?

I think back to a simpler time when we were less informed and better for it.

The shocking news last week of a sexual encounter involving revered President John Kennedy was an eye-opener. Had that news surfaced at the time, what would have been the national reaction? I can only assume that a similar story today would be splashed in all sordid details from sunrise to sunset with appropriate disdain by the political opposition.

Would Kennedy's Camelot have abruptly ended? And where would we be today?

Regardless of any opinion to the contrary, we face nine more months of instant analysis and our daily spoon-feeding of political pablum.

In the end, we know more than we want or need.

Now the real question is whether our ability to govern and provide united leadership is helped or hurt by this non-ending process.

I'm beginning to believe that when it comes to presidential politics, more isn't necessarily better.

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