Columbia Journalism Review sent out an e-mail to subscribers and readers Wednesday announcing the relaunch of its Campaign Desk to critique media coverage of the 2008 presidential election.
But noticeably absent from the e-mail was any mention of looking at coverage of the economy — like housing prices, or the subprime mortgage mess, or the stock market, or unemployment, or a dozen other issues that the candidates have and will continue to talk about — in their critique.
The e-mail, in part, stated, “Weâ€™ll look at who’s doing interesting, original reporting and who’s being taken in by spin; weâ€™ll focus on how and why the narratives that come to define a candidate get started and relentlessly repeated, and if they are off base, weâ€™ll try to set them straight. Weâ€™re on the lookout for misleading statistics, partial truths and oversimplifications, glittering generalities, and other language crimes that can infect the coverage. Weâ€™re also on the lookout for great reporting and discourse.
“Weâ€™ll send our people on the road, for a look inside the sausage factory. Weâ€™ll identify the questions that are not being asked, and issues that are not being discussed.
“Our experienced staff writers from CJR.org will focus largely on these issues and themes:
*Liz Cox Barrett on politics on television.
*Curtis Brainard on the environment and energy;
*Gal Beckerman on culture issues and faith;
*Megan Garber on education and gender issues;
*Clint Hendler on immigration and race;
*Paul McCleary on the wars and the military;
*In addition, we are joined by Trudy Lieberman, a longtime CJR contributor and the president of the board of directors of the Association of Health Care Journalists, on the health-care debate.”
Notice anything missing? It’s the economy, stupid. It’s even more embarrassing when you consider that Columbia’s journalism school also runs the Knight-Bagehot program for business and economics reporters in addition to publishing Campaign Desk.