great expectations

Anyone paying attention to politics in the last week has one lesson to take away — Stop paying so much attention!

If you care about policy, about where the country is going, about government and representation and all that jazz, more power too you. But don’t caught up in the minutiae of a bizarre and impossible to predict primary process. Especially do not take seriously what is filtered through the media playing the “expectations game,” which translates to, “If everything does not turn out exactly how we predicted, this represents a real change in the candidates/American people,” instead of implying that the people making those predictions are overstimulated buffoons with the attention spans of a gnat. (one gnat, to share between them)

Update: Ezra Klein says it more politely

My main takeaway from the primaries? Covering them is exhausting. They’re inescapably panoramic, messy, sprawling, and unpredictable. They don’t lend themselves to graphs or data. The traditional methods of reportage only offer two ways to cover the race: From the campaign’s point of view, or from the reporter’s. Nobody knows how to cover it from the perspective of the voters (which is different than the perspective of a voter). In theory, very little of use is learned — at least so far as the horserace coverage goes — in advance of the results. But so very much is written. The end product entertains, but it only appears to inform. In reality, it speculates and arranges facts and observations such that they form plausible hypotheses on essentially unknowable questions — questions that will, soon enough, be answered with real data.

Photo by Flickr user Macropixels used under a Creative Commons license.

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One response to “great expectations

  1. Hello,
    thank you for making my advertising by posting one of my photo. ;)

    But what does this header fly to do with the topic of your article?

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