Sunday, November 29, 2015

Last Gasp of "the Gaffe"

Here's a worthwhile thought from journalism professor and media critic Jay Rosen:

To an extent unrealized before this year, the role of the press in campaigns relied on shared assumptions within the political class and election industry about what the rules were and what the penalty would be for violating them. This was the basis for familiar rituals like "the gaffe," which in turn relied on assumptions about how a third party, the voters, would react once they found out about the violation.

These assumptions were rarely tested because the risk seemed too high, and because risk-adverse professionals — strategists, they're called — were in charge of the campaigns. The whole system rested on beliefs about what would happen if candidates went beyond the system as it stood cycle to cycle. Those beliefs have now collapsed because Trump violated all of them and he is still leading.

There's been a cascading effect as conventions that depended an one another cave in. The political press is stunned by these developments. It keeps asking if the "laws of political gravity" (a telling phrase) will be restored, or have they simply vanished?
Comedian Sarah Silverman put it this way:
Remember when Howard Dean said the name of a state with an energetic lilt & had to drop out of the race?
Makes me think that Dean or other candidates could probably have gotten away with their "transgressions" if they had just stuck it out: that it's the media echo chamber that drives people out of the race, and now we can see it because a jerk like Trump just ignored it.

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