How Does Dan Balz Know What ‘Democrats’ Think?

Once again, someone in the traditional media is projecting their personal opinion onto millions of people without any evidence. Washington Post reporter Dan Balz in one of those hideous ‘news analysis’ pieces:

Edwards has offended many Democrats with his candidacy. They question his authenticity and see his shift from optimism to anger as the sign of an opportunistic politician. He and his most loyal supporters argue that that’s not the case, that the Edwards of 2008 is a reflection of a changed country and his and his wife’s changed personal situation.

We’re offended, huh? I know some Democratic doctors don’t like him because of the whole trial lawyer thing*, but millions–which is the correct extrapolation of “many”–of Democrats are ‘offended’ that he is in the race? Got any evidence? Maybe a poll or something? Unless there are hard and fast data, there’s no reason to think this is anything more than one or a few people’s subjective opinions–not millions. Or worse, he’s just parroting some political hack’s personal opinions.
This is how bullshit political narratives are manufactured for us, the citizenry. Edwards is an “opportunist.” Of course, you could also present the narrative of a man, who reminded of his own difficult upbringing, ‘returned to his roots.’ The important point isn’t which narrative is ‘true’, but that there is a need to create narratives for the rest of us in the first place. Instead of making elections about what candidates will do (and have done), our electoral process is reduced to rooting for your favorite television show character (“He’s the fresh-faced one”; “She’s the overcompensating, embarrased wife”).
This is killing democracy, as much as any ballot mishaps.
And it’s all under the guise of ‘analysis.’ Where’s Bob Somerby when you need him?
*One of Edward’s cases appears to be based on what is now recognized as shoddy medical testimony.

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3 Responses to How Does Dan Balz Know What ‘Democrats’ Think?

  1. I think “narrative” is the second worst concept from “paradigm” in dragging down intelligent discussion. Instead of talking about objective facts, we’ve been reduced to talking in terms of subjectivity, bias and storytelling. Stephen Colbert has it nailed.

  2. The “opportunist” charge is one of the labels that has never made sense to me when attached to any politician. When someone uses that charge I just have to wonder if that implies that all the other candidates don’t want to run. Perhaps they were dragged out of bed in the middle of the night by parties’ candidate recruiting committees and forced to run “for the good of the country.”
    You know, like when candidates say “This race isn’t about me, it’s about our country, our state and our city,” as if they really mean it.
    I would rather have someone that has the ambition than someone who pretends to be reluctantly running. And if Giuliani wants to run on 9/11 because he really has nothing else, at least we know where he is coming from.
    I can speak for one Democrat who is not angry at John Edwards, btw. I can’t speak for millions of us, though.

  3. HP says:

    Avedon Carol thinks Balz is referring to Al From and the DLC.

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