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Michael Hastings Dishes on Dishing

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Michael Hastings, noted for using his personal experiences on assignment for material, has penned a piece for GQ titled,”Hack: Confessions of a Presidential Campaign Reporter“.

Objectivity is a fallacy. In campaign reporting more than any other kind of press coverage, reporters aren’t just covering a story, they’re a part of it – influencing outcomes, setting expectations, framing candidates – and despite what they tell themselves, it’s impossible to both be a part of the action and report on it objectively. In some cases, you genuinely like the candidate you’re covering and you root for him, because over the long haul you come to see him as a human being. For a long time, this was John McCain’s ace in the hole with the press, whom he referred to as “my base.” Reporters rode along with him, and he joked with them, and that went a long way toward shaping the tone of their coverage. (Last January a group of reporters asked McCain’s staff to make McCain campaign press T-shirts for them.) And because your success is linked to the candidate’s, you want to be with a winner, because that’s the story that makes the paper or the magazine or gets you on TV.

He also compares following presidential campaigns to watching hotel porn. Why is this significant for us? Well, because every time we mention porn our numbers spike. It used to be Britney Spears or Paris Hilton. But now it’s just porn. Porn. Heh.

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