I’m glad Matt Taibbi made the obvious point: hack political reporters adore sports metaphors:
Romney’s performance was better than Obama’s, but only if you throw out criteria like “wasn’t 100% full of shit from the opening bell” and “made an actual attempt to explain who he is and what his plans are.” Unfortunately, that is good enough for our news media, which drools over the gamesmanship aspects of these debates, because it loves candidates who sink their teeth into the horse-race nonsense that they think validates their professional lives.
For instance: in my local paper, the Star-Ledger in New Jersey, I read an analysis entitled, “Romney’s debate performance was presidential game changer, analysts say.”
The unnamed authors of this analysis delivered a blizzard of sports metaphors about Romney’s performance. “It’s a new race for the White House,” they said, after Romney “changed the game with an aggressive, confident performance” – needed, because “Obama’s forces had hinted earlier that all they needed from the debate was one good punch to knock Romney out,” after the challenger “spent the summer and early fall stumbling.”
Has any hack used “double down” yet? Or “ace up his sleeve”? I’d like to claim that political reporting has reached its nadir, but as the late Gore Vidal, there’s a whole lot of nadir.
A year ago I published a list of the cliches that I forbid from student essays. This year I’ve added “passed away” when students to say their grandma died, ponderosities like “prior” or “prior to” (as in “Prior to going to class, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts”) and “due to” or “due to the fact that” when they mean “because.”