Sunday, March 02, 2014

Politics Is Not A Sporting Event

Adam Smith of The Tampa Bay Times announced his political winners and losers of the week. This is a weekly column by Smith. I have nothing against Smith. However, I think this column reduces politics to a spectator sport when more attention should be paid attention to policy.

Did Floridians win this week because Sen. Marco Rubio fired off some bluster against the Nicolás Maduro government of Venezuela on Twitter.

Does anyone really believe Maduro reads Rubio's Twitter feed and tremble in fear. Maduro has reacted harshly to protesters in his country. I actually don't have a problem with Rubio voicing his displeasure. Madoro has jailed protest leader Leopoldo Lopez and 17 protesters have been killed. This is a serious international matter. Smith's column scoring Rubio's rhetoric as a win trivializes to serious matters in Venezuela. What is more important in Smith's column is which political figure is coming out on top.

According to Smith, David Jolly is the loser of the week. Jolly's camp falsely accused opponent Alex Sink of racism. It would be better if Smith informed his readers on how Sink's comments on immigration were taken out of context by a political tracker. Instead, Smith evaluates politicians as if they were a potential NFL draft pick at a scouting combine.

The Tampa Bay Times shouldn't treat politicians as if they were making odds for Vegas bookies. Media is too obsessed with the horse race. Media thinks people will be bored if policy wonkery was explained. Ezra Klein wrote a successful economic policy blog at the Washington Post. The blog was so successful that Klein has decided to branch out and start the Vox Media project. There is a place for policy driven journalism. The Tampa Bay Times should produce more policy posts to expand their internet reach. Let's face it. No one is going to remember who were Adam Smith's political winner and loser of March 2, 2014 were.

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