Saxe & the city

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Final Exam

Media plays a vital role in our lives because it links us to the government and news. But wait, does it really do this? What exactly is the media of today all about? Where does the truth of what's happening around us lie? What are the motives of those who provide us with information? There are six models Jan E. Leighley, author of Mass Media and Politics: A Social Science Perspective, discuses and attempts to portray the media.

The Neutral Adversary model explains the media as playing a role in monitoring government officials. Reporters act as a "check" on the government. People are motivated by self-interest and we need to limit them.

The Public Advocate Model says that journalists have a social responsibility to engage government officials and the public in debates on political issues. They are there to provide entertainment along with the facts. They see citizens as their main source and subject of news coverage.

The Profit-Seeker model is all about business and making money for the shareholders. Mostly every source from which we get our news is owned by one of a few corporations.

The Propaganda model describes the media as working as advocates for corporate and governmental interests. "Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play." Joseph Goebbles, Hitler's spokesperson once said. For example, the White House and the press have a symbiotic relationship. They love and hate each other at the same time. The press core needs information from the White House and the White House needs the press to send a certain message out. Therefore, they must compromise with one another and agree on the information that is shared.

The Objective Fact model explains that reporters are there to provide us with information. They have no agenda, but only to give us objective facts.

The final example is the de Toqueville Model. This model is one in which the media must serve the public with useful information that can be readily digested and applied. They can then apply it to their own self-governance.

These models make up today's media. The one that should be held as a standard by which we evaluate the performance of media in a pluralist, democratic polity is the Objective Fact Model. The beauty of objectivity is that it presents just the facts without anyone's personal and political beliefs or interpretations, just the content of the story. In this model, the news actually mirrors reality. Leighley provides a great explanation,

"For decades, CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite ended the evening newscast with the pronouncement 'and that's the world tonight.' Cronkite was suggesting that the thirty-minute show (consisting of approximately twenty-two minutes of news and eight minutes of advertising) provided its viewers with a window on the world. The more precise metaphor for this model is that the mass media act as a mirror of events beyond viewers' direct observations. The idea is that the image in that mirror is a perfect reflection of the world, with no distortions ('the facts') and no exclusions.

A major assumption of the reporters of objective fact model is that the mass media play a limited role in political communication between government and citizen. That is, the mass media are merely a conduit for information, tools used by citizens and government officials to expand their scope of vision or communication, not active participants in the communication process. Beyond providing an accurate and true portrayal of the factual world of politics and society, according to this model, the media have no particular role of function to perform."

Yet, the majority of media, especially MSM, play a greater role in our time. The very act of deciding what's news, the way that a story is described, the words used, how much time a story gets and the reputation of reporters already show different forms of bias.

Firstly, reporters have taken on their own personal role. They are not just a channel there to provide information. They have an image, reputation and you can sometimes have a good idea of their personal perspectives. As Professor Pimpare put on his blog, on September 7th, 2006, the musical tribute to Katie Couric on her first night as anchor on CBS News is pretty comical. This doesn't seem to show that MSM is seriously following the Objective Model.

When Mainstream Media first began, Newspapers made no pretense of objectivity, profit seekers or any of those models. They were propagandists. The Jefferson Republicans had theirs, as did Alexander Hamilton’s Federal Party. Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay compiled The Federalist Papers, a series of 85 articles published without their names on them in daily newspapers serving as an interpretation of the Constitution. They argued for changes to the constitution and used these papers as a means to reach that end. Then as we move to the late 1800s, muckrakers such as Jacob Riis and Lincoln Stevens revealed the corruption taking place in their time and the awful condition of workers. At the beginning of the 20th Century and the age of industrialization, media started to move from being partisan to more objective.

Hamilton argues that the 1970s marked a shift in the nature of news. Since then, the obligation of news went from providing people with information that they need to know to what they want to know. There are three areas that caused this shift; enhancements in technology, ownership and differentiation along with product definition. News has shifted from being hard to soft, the tone has become more negative and there has been a general decline in the coverage of important matters. This is what makes the Objective Fact model so hard to maintain, but necessary for our society.

Mainstream Media (MSM) is doing an appalling job providing citizens with the objective information they need in a proper format. The way a story is framed effects how it is perceived. For example the way that MSM discusses Iraq as a "War on Terror" is a frame. They have told people how to think about these events. There is also a very big difference between reports from Al Jazeera and The New York Times. Most Americans won't bother to look for another source outside of TV news, let alone read the Times and will most likely believe the first information they hear or read. I like to believe that the Times is one of the more reliable sources, but it still is far from being an ideal model and people must look at other news as well. We can not expect to escape from agenda setting, priming or framing. Yet, if MSM chose to focus on the vital issues we are facing, in an objective manner, we would be in much better shape.

Global Warming is a very important issue that will deeply effect future generations. In a recent article in The New York Times, the uphill trend of temperatures continues. As Professor Pimpare sourced in a blog on September 21, 2006, from World Public, a strong majority of Americans are aware of the danger of Global Warming and would endorse action to prevent it. Yet, what is being done about this issue? While MSM should be focusing on these types of matters, they have found other stories, for their own reasons, to be more newsworthy.

I guess some peoples' lives really revolve around celebrities, but just because they are pathetic, should not mean the news has to go along with it. One instance is the crazy media coverage that John Karr got in the Jon Benet case. The guy turned out to be lying and millions of viewers were forced to sit through endless coverage of him. The baby boom and divorces in Hollywood also took precious time away from real news. The saddest part of it all is that the media is more objective in their reporting of celebrities than they are when it comes to the real issues.

When Steven Aftergood came to speak to our class earlier in the semester, he gave excellent insight on Government secrecy. In a blog that I wrote after the lecture, I noted the large costs of this secrecy and vast amount of information the government leaves unexposed. After a semester of studying the media and taking a good look at objectivity in MSM, I realize that by them leaving information unspoken or taking a story out of context, we are being limited on two accounts. The media and government have made it impossible for us to see the big picture, because we do not know what aspects they have hidden from us. Most of what they conceal is probably insignificant and facts we are entitled to know. If media was to attempt to be more objective then they should at least make us aware that certain information is being concealed from a story. Then people would not spend countless hours on debates and theories to something that might be completely irrelevant.

New Media has opened the doors for a new and credible alternative to mainstream media. As Leighley explains,
"The internet developed in the early 1980s as an extension of computer networking capabilities originally developed for the Department of Defense. The first extension of these technological advances beyond military research facilities was their use in a high-speed electronic communications network of large research universities. Transmitting brief electronic mail (e-mail) messages and databases, the network gradually encompassed a wide range of research universities and teaching colleges. Additional linkages to major federal labs and agencies quickly established the Internet as a basic mode of communication in the academic and scientific communities.

With the public availability of personal computers and the development of graphics-based programming packages, the commercial potential of the Internet became evident, and the private sector responded dramatically."
The internet, especially blogs, gives each citizen the opportunity to act as an objective journalist. These new forms of technology allow anything to become a public event. Real time bloggers rexamine information they receive, often before MSM does. They can spot errors and bias in the media and make their voices heard. They might even end up reaching MSM if their call is strong enough.

With all that we were learning about New Media, it was fascinating to see its influence and effect on Politics. In the last Presidential election, the coverage of Howard Dean speaking to supporters in Iowa shows him screaming and acting out of control. It quickly passed around the Internet and framed him as a crazy man and took away any small chance he had at getting the Democratic nomination.

The Midterm Elections this past November provide an instance of a candidate who would not have stood a chance if not for the features of New Media. The news was all over the Senatorial Election in Connecticut from the Democratic Primary over the summer up until Election Day. Aside from his popular anti-war stance, Ned Lamont owes a great deal of his victory in the Primary over Lieberman to devout bloggers. Lamont and his bloggers weren't strong enough to win the general election, but the fact that the bloggers helped bring him as far as they had was remarkable. Personally, I stuck with Joe all along (as my shirt that can not be seen says).

There are some forms of New Media that have a way of completely altering information to being very far from the objective truth. As Dan Gillmor explores in, We The Media: Grassroots Journalism By The People, For The People, there are ways that new media can mislead viewers. He explains,

"In early 2004, John Kerry's presidential campaign drew fire when conservative web critics- and several gullible newspapers-published a composite photograph of him and Jane Fonda, one of the right wing's favorite targets. Kerry and Fonda, in a photo that turned out to have been doctored, were shown 'together' at a 1970s rally protesting the Vietnam War. It was unclear who created the fake picture, but the willingness of many people to trust this picture spoke volumes about how easy it is to manipulate public opinion.

Moreover, the incident was only the latest demonstration of a truly pernicious trend of modern fakery. Photos are evidence of nothing imparticular."

New Media poses obstacles to objectivity. One example is with Reuters' photography Adnan Hajj, a Lebanese freelance photographer. As taken from Wikipedia, Hajj manipulated at least two pictures from the War between Israel and Lebanon this summer. The error was actually caught by a blogger, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs and he stated that his photo "shows blatant evidence of manipulation." Reuters removed them and admitted to their mistake.

On a lighter note, another example shows the magical transformations technology can perform. This video was taken from a blog of Professor Pimpare's done on October 17th, 2006.

Despite the other problems and questions that New Media brings to the news force, it allows anyone to act as a journalist. Initially this might sound ideal. However, if people are looking for more objective stories and facts, New Media may or may not be their outlet. For example as Gillmor points out in his book in Chapter 9, anyone can make a webpage and make it appear to be legitimate and then spread false information. He also explains the dangers of anonymity and in order to trust your source you have to know where it's coming from. Fact-checking on the web is very important and something that we as a community should ensure is done.

Viewers should always be aware of what they are reading and where it is from. MSM is struggling to keep itself on top and is working with New Media. Peter Johnson addresses a very interesting point in an article for USA Today on April 2nd, 2006, "Fact Vs. Opinion: Who wins Online?" He says,
"As mainstream media expand their Internet offerings, one of their greatest challenges in this age of the blog is whether to shift the traditional lines between objective reporting and opinion."
MSM has already given itself a bad name to most people who readily follow the news and it has failed to provide objective reporting. Yet, if the Internet proves to be unreliable, MSM may have a chance to take the lead in the future. However, until MSM can fix some of its' errors and people know the right places to find information on the internet, the future for New Media is looking bright. I believe that the Objective Fact Model can bring Media into its Golden Age. New Media still has the trust of people if it continues to allow them their freedoms and provide them with accurate and important information. It is no surprise that New Media has taken the spotlight off Big Media and many ordinary people have chosen to take the news into their own hands. As New Media continues to expand and reach greater heights, Mainstream Media may never be the same again.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Are we being too hard on the media?

I came across an interesting article while doing research for one of my papers. The title caught my eye after all that we have been discussing in class throughout the semester. The transcript is titled, "Do the Mass Media Divide Us?" The event took place by the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. on November 28th, 2006;

The moderator of the lecture was E.J. Dionne Jr.; a Senior Fellow of Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution and a columnist of
The Washington Post. The panelists were Gregg Easterbrook (Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution), Diana C. Mutz (Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Politcal Science and Commmunication at the University of Pennsylvania) and Jonathan Ruach (Guest Scholar, The Brookings Institution).

Jonathan Ruach explains,
"This notion that media polarizes the country; if you read Diana's fine chapter, you will find out that there is virtually no hard evidence that it does as far as we can tell. I think it is at least as likely that the country polarizes the media. It is not a coincidence that the same period in which we have seen polarized media with more ideology shouting at each other is the period when the country has gone that direction, and we know to some extent why that is that case. It is because Americans have sorted themselves by ideology and party, so all the Blues are on one side and all the Reds are on the other. Two different parties make it much easier to have concentrated shout fests when people are separated this way instead of intermingled through party and ideology. Well, it is no surprise that the media would follow that or people, too.

I expect there is causality in both directions. The people polarize the media and vice versa. But I suspect a lot of what is going on is to some extent shooting the messenger -- blaming the media for, in fact, reflecting changes in society."
I think that Rauch makes a valid point. We have been pretty hard on the media and maybe we should pay more attention to the values and interests of American citizens. In the article we read for the last class by Mutz and Byron Reeves "The New Videoomalaise: Effects of Televised Incivility on Political Trust,"they also discuss the interpersonal skills and interests of people and how they effect their views on Politics. I think that the majority of media have been forced to adhere to corporate decisions, but they are also following the trends of society's interests. Therefore, it makes it hard to solely blame the media.

It is also hard for many to distinguish between what is a fact and an opinion. Polarization in Politics may have also increased because of the incredible power and influence of the internet. Journalists are now up against the many websites and blogs of other writers. Although, not all online writers may be the most intelligent and well informed, they still exist and attract readers. As Gillmor explains in Chapter 12 of, "We the Media,"the internet is changing the way the media functions.

"The internet is the most important medium since the printing press. It subsumes all that has come before and is, in the most fundamental war, transformative. When anyone can be a writer, in the largest senes and for a global audience, many of us will be. The Net is overturning so many of the things we've assumed about media and business models that we canscarecely keep up with the changes; it's difficult to maintain perspective amid the shift from a top-down hierarchy to something vastly more democratic and, yes, messy. But we have to try, and nowhere is that more essential than in that oldest form of information: the news. We will be blessed with new kinds of perspective in this emergent system, and we will learn how to make it work for everyone."

Whether the mass media is what divides us or not is not the question. What we should be focusing on is what are the reasons that the mass media has played into this trend.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Is television THAT bad for politics?

After reading "The New Videoomalaise: Effects of Televised Incivility on Political Trust," by Diana Mutz and Byron Reeves, I feel that I am left without any answers. The article questions if this incivility has brought people to look negatively on politics and their Politicians. As they explain, there is not substantial enough evidence to confirm the negative consequences that incivility brings. I found many of their points to be interesting and valid. For example, they explain how actually viewing a Political debate is much different than reading about it. TV makes the viewing much more intimate and have resulted in personal qualities of Politicians to be more significant. Yet, they may not always abide by the norms of everyday behavior and are not always careful to be polite. This creates a conflict because most people don't distinguish between real life and TV. Therefore, when they view incivilty on TV, they react as they would as if the encounter was taking place right infront of them. There is also the consideration that cameras have the ability to zoom in and intensely show a discussion, which is completely unnatural.

What is "Videomalaise,"? In a study done by Robinson and Appel in 1979, they found negative coverage to dominant the three major networks. A similar test was done in the 80s and returned the same results. Yet, these tests still did not bring enough evidence to say TV is the reason for political distrust.

Another idea they discuss is that TV Journalists are to blame for causing this shift in the tone and content of Political media. They explain that because of the competition that exists, print media had to copy their ways. Therefore, they don't find TV to provide a different nor unique perspective. Market Competition has also caused political shows to "liven themselves up," in order to increase ratings. Such shows as "The O'Reilly Factor," and "Crossfire," are examples of shows that because of their heated conversations and debates, maintain a significant audience.
TV is dramatic and as we have learned, the main purpose is to draw in viewers!

Their hypothesis is that the violation of social norms should cause negative reactions toward Politics and Government. They also believe that people expect others to abide by these norms of society and when they don't, they are judged less favorably and end up having an emotional response. They conducted 3 experiments to test this hypothesis. They used adults and undergraduates and exposed them to 4 different political disagreements and manipulated the extent of civility and politeness. They used actors to play congressional candidates with a moderator and each actor was given a position to defend. They were given opposing views and told to discuss them in either a civil or uncivil way. Each experiment had different issues and were five minutes long.

Those in the first experiment were randomly assigned to civil or uncivil conditions. In the 2nd experiment, the subjects were not told the hypotheses so that they could follow-up with phone interviews. There was also a control group that did not watch a Political program. The 3rd experiment focused on understanding the process of influence that accounts for the pattern of findings that came from the first two experiments.

The 1st experiment showed that all 3 trust measures were negatively influenced by uncivil exhange by the actors and the audiences' trust in politics decreased. Yet, many people are just turned off to conflict and their own interpersonal relations take a role on their reaction. The 2nd experiment had more participants, a control group and different issues. The effects of incivility were the same as in the first experiment. The control group showed that the only difference was in the uncivil condition, not with the civil one. The viewing of the uncivil interactions significantly lowered the levels of trust in politics. We learn from here that viewing civil interaction doesn't change much. In the final experiemnt, viewers phsyiological reactions were tested by small electrodes that measure emotional responses. This showed that exposure to conflict increased peoples' arousal. Also, the more time spent, the lower were the levels of arousal. However, viewers found the uncivil encounters to be more entertaining and were less likely to view the civil ones in the future.

Those who agreed to follow up from the 2nd experiment showed that they went back to the same level of trust that they initially had. It also showed that those who witnessed the civil group and had a slight increase in their trust, later on it actually lowered their levels of trust and proved to be short lived.

I don't believe that this experiment was very effective in expressing the effect of TV on Political trust. I think that the environment was not natural and caused viewers to pay more attention and be more critical than they would be in their normal surroundings. Politcal debates are unavoidable. Every single person is unique and has their own personality and reactions. Therefore, I believe that uncivil debates may be more effective to some, while civil ones may be for others. I found some of their observations to be interesting. For example, the difficulty viewers have in distinguishing between real life encounters and those on TV was surprising. I think that their final conclusion of the paradox that exists within this conflict is very true. The fact that many people are drawn to incivilty but then react negatively shows a great deal about human nature.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rumsfeld's memo

In today's "New York Times," Michael R. Gordon and David S. Cloud's article, "Rumsfeld Memo Proposed ‘Major Adjustment’ in Iraq," addresses a matter I find to be quite interesting.
"Two days before he resigned as defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld submitted a classified memo to the White House that acknowledged that the Bush administration’s strategy in Iraq was not working and called for a major course correction."

"Classified," does not really seem to make sense in this case. After various readings, Steven Aftergood's speech and class lectures, I question whether this was leaked on purpose. I am actually confident enough to say I know this was leaked on purpose. The memo is filled with Rumsfeld's ideas and perspectives of the war.

"Titled 'Iraq — Illustrative New Courses of Action,' the memo reflects mounting concern over a war that, as Mr. Rumsfeld put it, has evolved from 'major combat operations to counterterrorism, to counterinsurgency, to dealing with death squads and sectarian violence.'”
Rumsfeld resigned about a month ago, why is this coming out now? Even so, why has this received all the media attention it has in the recent days? He is no longer the Defense Secretary and his perspective no longer holds much more weight than that of any other American citizen. If Rumsfeld was truly as concerned about the war in Iraq and our faults in being there, he should have utilized his high position to make changes!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Are cell phones becoming an expansion of new media?

Youtube is one of the most popular websites and it is now going to be accessible on many Verizon Cell Phones through VCast. At $15 dollars a month, Verizon customers will be able to watch videos on their phones. Media & Politics introduced me to Youtube and now it's become pretty addicting. This article,, in "The New York Times," discusses the innovative idea, but it is also one with complete corporate control.

“YouTube said its editors would select short videos from its library for the Verizon Wireless service. Verizon Wireless said it would vet the videos to make sure they met the company’s editorial and taste guidelines…One question is whether the limited selection of videos on the service will undermine the basic appeal of YouTube, which has grown popular in part because users decide what they want to watch.”

What will the Corporate heads of Verizon and YouTube choose to expose? Although this article may not initially appear to be Political, I think there is a lot more to it then meets the eye. If this idea is successful and cell phones do become a further expansion of new media, cell phone providers will be able to exert an extremely influential role on what their customers are exposed to.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

An ounce of hope?

With the horrific events in Iraq this past week, I've grown to be more frustrated than ever before. I was especially concerned because of the extremely negative ways they were portraying the tragic events in the media, combined with the fact that they always downplay the actual casualties. I couldn't help but imagine how bad things must actualy be. An article in the Times caught my attention. It's title is,"Now It’s Iraq on the Agenda for Mr. Fix-It of the G.O.P.", by Sheryl Gay Stolberg. She speaks of James A. Baker, the Republican co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group (a bi-partisan panel focused on finding an effective strategy in Iraq) and his passion to turn over the war.
"On Monday, the 10 members of the Iraq Study Group — five Republicans
and five Democrats
— will convene in Washington for two days of deliberations, to try to
produce a
report by mid-December. The panel, formed at the urging of a
bipartisan group in
Congress, has a broad mandate to conduct an analysis of
the situation in Iraq,
including military, economic and political
The group has conducted
hundreds of interviews, but some question
whether even the most thorough report
can have any effect on the ground in
Iraq, where sectarian violence is
The panel remains deeply
divided over several critical issues,
most notably whether to accede to
calls by Democrats for a phased withdrawal of
troops. Mr. Baker, who would
not be interviewed for this article, has said he
wants bipartisan consensus,
but the panel’s Democratic co-chairman, Lee H.
Hamilton, acknowledges it
will be difficult.
'It’s not a guaranteed result,'
Mr. Hamilton said.
'There is a lot of focus on our work, and a lot of attention
to it, and high
expectation from it. I think Jim and I both feel that pressure.'”
The article goes on to discuss that even if when this commission comes to some sort of decision, the Bush administration has not given any form of guarantee that they will abide by it. What I also found to be discouraging was that President Bush will be traveling to Jordan to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq, where he will assure him that the, "United States will not be pulling out anytime soon." Yet, the article does address the close relationship that Baker shares with Bush Senior and the President.
"Some Democrats consider that a good thing. 'Baker has the great good
possibility of success because he’s so close to the president,' said Senator Joseph
R. Biden
Jr., the Delaware Democrat and incoming chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee. 'He’s able to give the president a way out, a way
of saying, ‘I didn’t do what the Democrats said. I listened to Baker, my old
buddy, Jim Baker.’"
Although the chances of Baker waking up Bush is slim, it still gives me some hope. I just do not understand how we can allow this to go on any longer without making significant changes and preventing the unnecessary losses of anymore lives.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush, by Eric Boehlert, places a great deal of blame on the media for the war in Iraq. He makes a lot of fascinating points that either people have never realized or that were never properly voiced. As he states, "To oppose the invasion vocally was to be outside the media mainstream and to invite scorn. Like some nervous Democratic members of Congress right before the war, MSM journalists and pundits seemed to scramble for political cover so as to not subject themselves to conservative catcalls."

In a review,, by Michael Getler of "The Washington Post", he expresses what he finds to be some of Boehlert's shortcomings.

"One obvious failing is that a book by a journalist attacking the press ought to have included some responses from editors and reporters who disagree with Boehlert's conclusions. There is basically none of that here.

Another defect is that Lapdogs too frequently appears overtly political; the book is written as though a cadre of Bill Clinton's defenders were its editors. Boehlert's case that a timorous press was intimidated by President Bush frequently rests on comparisons to the media's supposedly more aggressive approach to Clinton and former vice president Al Gore. This is arguable, at best, and the tactic diminishes the book's overall impact. "

In regard to his first problem with the article, I believe that any sort of comment from an editor or reporter would obviously be negative and his whole book serves as a criticism for what they failed to do. He gives facts that they can not disprove, but only attempt to. I can see Getler's second point a bit more than his first. Yet, I don't know if I agree that it takes away from the book. The book is clearly not objective so therefore it is pointless to expect anything more.

Getler continues, "Moreover, Boehlert reinforces this problem with an odd ending. 'While the point of Lapdogs ,' he writes, 'is to document the press's failings and not necessarily to offer Democrats communication or campaign strategies, it does seem obvious that if Democrats have to battle both entrenched Republicans as well as a MSM that refuses to give the party out of power a fair shake, then Democrats are going to continue to have trouble winning elections.' It's not easy to be a credible media critic when you're also being, at least indirectly, a Democratic strategist.

Moreover, the book starts out by waving another red flag. In the preface, Boehlert writes, 'The goal of Lapdogs is to cut through incessant rhetoric about a liberal media bias, and to show, factually, just how the mainstream media has tipped the scales in President Bush's favor for going on six years. The proof for that is all in the public record; in the voluminous pages of the New York Times , Washington Post , Newsweek , and Time , just to name a few, as well as in the mountain of transcripts produced by network and cable news programs.' Laying this out, he writes, 'makes the conclusion -- that the press rolled over for Bush -- inescapable.' But there is no way to prove that this is 'inescapable,' which would mean knowing what was inside the heads of producers and editors at the time their news decisions were made.'"

I see the points that Getler is making here. I have not read the whole book so it's not fair for me to address this just by reading an excerpt. However, if Getler is right then it probably would have been more effective for Boehlert to avoid being a "Democratic strategist." I also think that by the sound of Boehlet's introduction he is setting himself for criticism. "Inescapable" is a very strong word and practically impossible for him to back up. Yet, as opposed to "The New York Yime" at least someone from "The Washington Post" even reviewed the article.