Journalism professor Jay Rosen has a piece about how much of political journalism has gone astray by focusing their efforts not on educating the voters about what the important issues are but by appealing to those whom they refer to as ‘political junkies’, those who love the gossipy insider game of tactics used by the masters of the game.
This is what led to the cult of the savvy, my term for the ideology and political style that journalists like Chris Cillizza and Mark Halperin spread through their work. The savvy severs any lingering solidarity between journalists as the providers of information, and voters as decision-makers in need of it. The savvy sets up — so it can speak to and cultivate — a third group between these two: close followers of the game. The most common term for them is “political junkies.” The site that Cillizza runs was created by that term. It’s called The Fix because that’s what political junkies need: their fix of inside-the-game news.
In the process, they dismiss political activists, those partisans who really care about issues and want to make a difference but have little interest in who’s up and who’s down. Since these people do not have much patience for political gamesmanship, they are the subject of unending ridicule by these media operatives.