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The (Pre-)Occupied Political Media | The Nation

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Leslie Savan

Politics, media and the politics of media.

The (Pre-)Occupied Political Media

This morning on The Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd and guests Jonathan Martin of Politico and Chris Cillizza of the Wash Post were having a good ol’ time circling and recircling the deeply worn grooves over whether or not Chris Christie would run for prez, what his candidacy would do to a sinking Perry or to a rising but not-serious Cain, and on and on until they had to stop for a commercial break. “But I could go on all day!” Chuck said, and at that, Martin got so excited he said (and I’m only slightly paraphrasing), Oh, please, let’s go on! Let’s never, ever stop!

That sort of media pleasuring itself continued later in the show after word came in that Governor Christie was going to hold a press conference to announce his decision. (Whether you read this before or after the announcement, the answer is No. Which it has always been.)

Oh, somewhere in Chuck’s hour-long show a little footage was given over to Occupy Wall Street, where real news is being made and outcomes are not already known. But OWS warranted only a minute or two, creating a roughly 20-to-1 ratio of horse-race MSM theater to democracy-saving people’s theater, something like the already lopsided ratio of 10-to-one spending cuts to tax increases that all the GOP presidential candidates have rejected and that indicates the extent of corporate dominance OWS is up against.

This ratio is only likely to increase over the next year or so, as political media amuse themselves with the fun, easy stuff, while ignoring the harder work of understanding what’s really driving so many people to Occupy Wall Street, Boston, Washington, Denver, Chicago and more.

I don’t mean to single out Chuck—I believe him in his MSNBC “Lean Forward” ad when he says he wants to use his “access [to the politically powerful] for a greater good. Use it for people who can’t get through the White House gates, for people who can’t be heard.”

But are those really people like Cillizza and Martin?

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