Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

What a relief! The campaign is finally over

Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 07:04 PM

"We Are All Abigael Evans," reads the Time Magazine headline on its story about the 4-year-old who went viral sobbing that she was " tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney."

The chubby-cheeked moppet from Fort Collins, Colorado was making a Halloween-eve grocery run with her news-junkie mom. Trapped in the car seat, little Abby melted down as way too many reporters gathered around NPR's microphone to pour over campaign talking points as if they were the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Abby would have been happier in the mid-20th Century. Back then, presidents and wannabes did not inflict themselves on us all day, every day, and campaigns were not a constant toothache in the body politic.

Children born in 2008 have already been waterboarded with more political hype and tripe than their grandparents had suffered by the time they retired. Perhaps that explains why zombies are enjoying a resurgence in popular culture, and not just on Halloween.

"We must confess, the campaign's gone on long enough for us, too," NPR empathized on its blog. "Let's just keep telling ourselves: 'Only a few more days, only a few more days, only a few more days.'"

Who does NPR think it's kidding?

If Abby is crying into her sippy-cup now, she might be hitting the bourbon bottle by the time the mid-term election rolls around.

Publishers at every point on the political spectrum pour virtually all of their reporting resources into gathering grist for the cable "news" mill.

Great reporters who went into journalism for all the right reasons are forced to make like helicopter moms and Little League dads to the pollsters and consultants who service our increasingly spineless politicians.

Meanwhile, stories that don't lend themselves to breathless blogs and titillating tweets are, like the folks in assisted living facilities, "neglected to death."

Like Toto in Oz, Abby Evans has pulled back a curtain with her clarion caterwauling.

The endless campaign cycle has sucked all of the oxygen out of newsrooms and too many great stories go begging for a reporter with the time and expertise to tell them.

Pay no attention to those consultants behind the curtain. It's the only way to get their political clients to pay some long-overdue attention to serving the public.

Florence Snyder is a Tallahassee-based corporate lawyer who has spent most of her career in and around newspapers. She can be reached at

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