The hardreading staff generally admires media criticism from the peripatetic Jack Shafer, but his latest Politico piece is a little low-hanging-fruitish.
Uh-Oh. Here Come the Brexperts.
Reporters: Don’t know much about Brexit? Don’t let that stop you.
Who could have predicted that the press harbored so many experts on the repercussions of Brexit? Following Thursday’s vote by the British electorate to leave the European Union, these whizzes crowded the airwaves, clogged the newspapers and swamped their websites with assessments of the breakup’s meaning.
Obviously, some outlets that specialize in finance and cover the Eurozone—like the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and CNBC—have a handle on the subject; they’d been covering it long before Thursday. But as you stray from these specialists for the generalists, whose job it is to report on whatever Topic A might be that day (weather, politics, infectious disease, baseball), the more the Brexit coverage begins to resemble one long amateur hour.
Yeah, except most of journalism is amateur hour: generalists interviewing specialists to cobble together something that sounds vaguely reasonable. And, very often, reasonably vague.
Regardless, here’s Shafer’s Boston Globe nuts-to-you graf:
At the Boston Globe, for example, reporter James Pindell dug deeply into his bag of journalistic clichés last week to deduced that the Brexit vote was “about the economy, stupid” and that if Brexit caused a recession it would “dramatically change the conversation of the presidential race.” No kidding! Michael A. Cohen, a regular on the Globe op-ed page, concluded that it was not David Cameron’s fault Brexit passed, nor was it Jeremy Corbyn’s, nor could it be blamed on the EU elites who pushed immigration. It was “actual voters.” Another astonishing finding.
C’mon, Jack – you can do better than to beat up on what’s essentially beat reporting (in every sense of that phrase). Besides, you’re always a lot more interesting when you go after the high-hanging fruit.