(1) Katie Couric’s interview of Sarah Palin (CBS)
(2) McCain can’t say how many homes he owns (Politico)
(3) Obama’s “bitter” comment (Huffington Post)
(4) Sarah Palin’s shopping spree (Politico)
(5) Turmoil in the Clinton camp (Washington Post and Atlantic — “The behind-the-scenes tension was captured by the reporters in one memorable exchange: ‘[Expletive] you!’ Ickes shouted. ‘[Expletive] you!’ Penn replied. ‘[Expletive] you!’ Ickes shouted again.”)
(6) Jeremiah Wright tapes (ABC News)
(7) The Pentagon’s military analyst program (NY Times)
(8) Bickering in the McCain camp (NY Times Magazine)
(9) John Edwards’ affair (National Enquirer)
(10) Powell endorses Obama (Meet the Press)
Number seven is certainly an important story (and one that got virtually no coverage on TV), but the rest is… Well, as Glenn says,
In fairness to Calderone and his comrades in the political press, our media currently covers a country that has very few substantial problems and an administration that is renowned around the world for being competent, honest, conventional and quite uncontroversial. In general, countries which enjoy great tranquility, prosperity, and stability — such as the U.S. today — can afford the luxury of fixating on the types of fun and trivial stories which comprise the list of top “scoops” heralded by Politico.
It’s not that all of these stories were meaningless and not worth reporting. Palin’s difficultly answering simple questions — and what it implied about her readiness to step into the Presidency — was relevant knowledge for voters to have, for instance. And a lot of these stories are irresistibly fun. But it shouldn’t be on anyone’s “top ten scoops” list. It wasn’t a “scoop” that they deserve credit and praise for — Katie Couric didn’t work to ferret that story out. Someone just turned a camera on.
Meanwhile, there’s a lot of in-depth reporting about the election that didn’t happen — or that happened, but didn’t get picked up on in any consistent fashion. After all the debating talks about Afghanistan, how many Americans could find it on a map? How many Americans, after all this time, could even guess at if Iran’s government is Sunni or Shiite? How many know, even in broad outlines, the differences between McCain’s and Obama’s proposed health care plans are? There may also have been some torture going on somewhere, and maybe some war crimes covered up, and possibly a tiny twinge in our economic health, but you’d never know it from Politico’s top ten.
But of course, reporting like that won’t sell papers, or pull in eyeballs, the way simple and fun narratives will. I’m not sure that good reporting is possible, except in erratic sparks, in a profit-driven news model.