Recall Objectivity?

Can anyone in the mainstream press recall the ancient and apparently discredited ideal of objectivity? Judging by much coverage of The Recall, no.

“The campaign already is a spectacle bordering on farce ….”

“… this recall election has become a circus….”

Which of these observations was made by a prominent California Democrat, an erstwhile candidate, and which by two reporters in their article on the front page of Sunday’sWashington Post? You’ll have to go here to find out.

Nor is the Washington Post the only culprit. Which of the following comments was made by a New York Times reporter and which by a political operative advising Gray Davis?

“Add another wacky element to the carnival-like recall election of Gov. Gray Davis in California….”

“The Kennedy administration blurred the line between politics and entertainment. Ronald Reagan blurred the line even more, using hard-won skills as an actor to convey sincerity, passion, anger. Now, Arnold Schwarzenegger has crossed the line.”

“Mr. Schwarzenegger [should] stop treating members of the press corps as if they are ‘Entertainment Tonight’ reporters and … start answering their questions.”

“In keeping with the recall’s metastasis from grassroots democracy to surreality TV, spectators and camera crews outnumbered candidates at several of the state’s 58 county election offices.”

[Whose] “argument is totally about the circus, about the dysfunction, about it’s the wrong thing for the state”?

To find out, you’ll have to look here, here, here, here, and here.

For what it’s worth (not much, in my opinion), if I were a Californian I’m not sure at this point how I would vote on either the recall or the replacement parts of the ballot. But I do think the sputtering frenzy in the political and media worlds is uncalled for. The recall and initiative, after all, were progressive reforms, based on the formerly widespread belief in popular sovereignty.

Say What?