Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Krugman Nails (the Meaning of) Iowa

Iowa means everything and nothing. How can that be?

I'm continually marveling at how the media latch onto narratives and hold on for dear life. Of course, the media can turn on a dime -- seemingly as one -- and grasp hold of another narrative as if the old one never existed. Paul Krugman in a blog post today nails Iowa and its narratives:
How does this apply to news coverage and punditry? Well, it’s obvious that the media have strong herding instincts; almost everyone wants to be somewhere close to the middle of the pack, telling the prevailing narrative. But there are many narratives that could, in fact, prevail. Partly that’s because such narratives can be self-fulfilling, and partly it’s because actually being, you know, right isn’t that important compared with being on top of the trend. So anything that gives special salience to a particular narrative can produce convergence on that narrative, even if everyone realizes that what’s going on is basically stupid.
Pretty much it. By the way, that's my take on the media relationship with Hillary Clinton, especially regarding her emails. "She's an extraordinarily knowledgeable, experienced, and competent woman, and the emails are a crude, useless distraction" isn't nearly as fun as "Possibly this email scandal will just fade away, especially if it turns out that none of the emails were classified at the time, but the important and perhaps most damaging effect will be to remind voters of Clinton's trustworthiness problem." Sheesh. We are informed by incredibly stupid people. But at least they all agree!

No comments:

Post a Comment