Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?

There was a special election for a state Senate seat in the state of Wisconsin, and a lady Democrat beat out the Republican in a district which had gone for Trump in 2016.  Does this mean a blue wave is coming?
That is not at all the right question.  We don’t even know who this  woman is, and the story totally fails to answer, or even address the question.  Does she support universal health care?  Legalization of marijuana? Green energy initiatives?  Will she refuse to accept corporate money?  We don’t know.  The  article didn’t say.

Meanwhile, over on The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur is interviewing a woman running for congress, and she seems very nice, and she’s a nurse, which is a good thing, but… there are right wing nurses and there are left wing nurses and there are nurses that are in between.  I certainly don’t have any problem with a nurse running for congress, but that’s not what I want to know.

Journalists (and it’s not just an American phenomenon, other countries are no better) have totally abdicated their prime responsibility, which is to give the public the information it needs to make informed decisions.  So, can you blame people for  voting badly?

They need to go back to the 6 basic questions we all learned in journalism school:  who, what, when, where, why, and how.  Who is she?  (“a nurse” is not enough.  “a Democrat” is not enough.)  What does she stand for?  When did she decide to get involved?  Why is she running?  How will she change things?

I used to think social media would supplant journalism, because there is time enough to ferret out all these answers.  Even with no journalists involved, somebody has to know the answers.  It’s not working out that way, however.  Citizen journalists are almost as poor at journalism as real journalists.  We need to work a whole lot harder at it if we expect politicians to somehow, suddenly  become responsive.

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