I’ve been following Simon Mann’s coverage of the US primaries in the Sydney Morning Herald for a week and I’m yet to learn a thing about the primaries. Is it just registered Republicans who are voting or can anyone vote? How many people are voting? Is it likely that those who vote in the primaries will bother voting in the presidential election? And what are the primaries anyway? How many do you have to win to become the presidential candidate? Or is it the total number of votes that count, so doing well in the big states is more important than doing well in the little states? And only today did I get a very brief sentence about what one of the Republican candidates actually stands for. Which is kinda weird because surely they all stand for the same thing, being in the same party, but I guess it’s different in the US and wouldn’t it be great if the Australian journalist assigned to cover this issue for an Australian audience actually fucking explained how it worked?
Today Simon Mann has 708 words in his story – Victorious Romney bites back against attack ads – and the first 581 are about who is winning in the polls. That’s 581 essentially meaningless words on the horse race, before he gets to information about the horses.
And by “information about the horses”, it’s just two sentences, 29 words out of 708, on what one of the five horses stands for:
He promised to cut the national debt and reduce the size of government, while eliminating regulations and repealing Mr Obama’s healthcare reforms. He also pledged to restore military dominance.
There isn’t a single word about how Romney reckons he’s going to cut the national debt. My guess is no journalist has actually asked him. You’d think that would be important, but naaah. There’s not a single word about how many jobs will be lost in Romney’s plan to cut the size of government, or about what areas he’s going to cut. And not a single word about whether the Republicans will have the numbers to axe the reforms and whether enough Republicans will want to axe them, and what it will mean for the general population. And what does “restore military dominance” actually mean? Does he mean nationally? Like using the military to respond to the Occupy protests? Does he mean globally? What country has more military dominance than the US? I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW A SENIOR JOURNALIST THINKS IT ISN’T HIS JOB TO ASK QUESTIONS.
Yesterday’s story – Opponents take aim at Romney firm’s tactics – is 612 words of fuck-all information:
Mitt Romney’s commanding lead in New Hampshire has been pegged back amid stinging attacks on his corporate record, according to latest opinion polls, but the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nomination is still his to lose.
So, you’d think the story would be about his corporate record, right? With the journalist doing some research into this record? Ha ha, don’t be silly. It’s 315 words about the horse race, then these two sentences:
The pro-Gingrich group known as “Winning Our Future” said it had set aside more than $US3 million to screen its commercial, which was cut from a 30-minute documentary made by a former aide to Mr Romney’s failed 2008 nomination bid. Portraying Bain Capital as a “jobs destroyer” rather than creator, the film depicts its principal as a Wall Street raider whose firm “destroyed the dreams of thousands of Americans”.
And then another 228 words about the horse race. A story that is supposedly about Romney’s corporate record contains just two sentences on what someone with a vested interest thinks of that corporate record, with no attempt whatsoever by Mann to verify if the claims being made by Romney’s opposition are true or not. This is some incredibly lazy reporting from a senior correspondent. If I was SMH editor Amanda Wilson, I’d fly to the US just to personally kick his arse back to Sydney. But that would require looking at the SMH’s stories through the eyes of their paying audience and snowflake hell and all that.