Last week, I wrote a column about how offensive it is to be told by idiots who don’t pay close attention to current events, let alone reads books about world news and politics, that those of us who do actually consume headlines beyond those offered by Fox News are elitist snobs and monsters for condemning those who read zilch but the sports pages, or in some cases nothing at all.
That is still my position; but at the same time, in preparing to spend next week in New Hampshire with our team covering the first-in-the-nation primary, I have come to realize that I don’t know very much either. It isn’t for a lack of reading or watching or listening to news; in the past couple of months, I have probably stuck my nose against more screens than during any prior election cycle trying to learn about candidates and their positions while still keeping up on Trump and all things impeachment related. Nevertheless, if pressed to tell you what I’ve learned, I would have very little to report, probably because most of the garbage in our feeds and on cable has to do with the hysterical horse race. Last month, it was that whole Sanders vs Warren charade; this month, the pundits and alleged reporters alike are focused on what appears to be a single GOP senator who wants to impeach Joe Biden. Are you fucking kidding me?
The reporters I roll with may not dress like the coifs on TV, or have as many cool lanyards in their credential collection as those who ride campaign buses, but I assure you we are much more serious than most of them, even if our coverage is sometimes salted with humor. Furthermore, we actually value input from our readers, and as such have asked people for weeks to help guide our coverage of the primary. Here are just a few questions you told us to bring along:
What plans do candidates have to limit the influence of lobbyists and major donors?
Where do the candidates stand on extreme punishment? How do they feel about the movement to end life without parole?
Do any of the candidates have anything to say about the growing surveillance state?
How do candidates plan on helping people who care for their loved ones? Especially young people who are caregivers and have no formal recognition or support for that responsibility?
What do the remaining candidates have to say about the epidemic of police violence in this country?
Can the candidates explain in person the details of their proposals for how to manage immigration in this country in a fashion that embraces refugees and others, keeps all parties safe, and avoids threatening students and others who have been given mixed messages about their status in the United States?
Does some of this stuff already get covered? Of course it does. Do these issues get as much coverage as they should? No, they don’t. We’re going to make our best attempt to fill some gaps. Follow our progress all week (and give us your input) at binjonline.org/manchesterdivided, and if you want to support our work, you can contribute to our effort at givetobinj.org.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF