In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Reporter Envy Sorta
Political correspondents often envy their brethren and sistern in the sports arena. First of all sports garners infinitely more attention that politics. After all who wins the Super Bowl has a greater impact on our lives than who gets elected to the White House. Sports writers also get to travel all over the place including warm climes. In strong contrast no state legislator has ever voted on a tax hike in sunny Florida unless of course he or she promised to do so during a vacation financed by a well-heeled lobbyist. And then there are the interviews and the clichés. There is nothing comparable in politics, and where would sports writers be without them? "They left their game in the locker room." Maybe they should have moved the game in there. "They're trying to milk the clock." Graduates of the Cow college cringe each time they hear that. "The secondary looks porous." Three-quarters of the audience and the players have no idea what a "porous" is. Combining a bunch of them creates imagery that is unmatched: "He's slow getting up because his bell was rung due to the freight train that ran over him as everyone piled on." The best clichés are the obvious ones and there are a ton of those. "They have to stop the big play. They have to establish a running game" and its corollary, "he needs to put the ball in the air." And of course the outcome of the contest depends on "where they spot the ball." (See game of inches.) For math majors there is "They all count one" and its companion "We play them one at a time." And for those of you who know nothing about sports, a costly turnover is not a pricey muffin at your local bakery. You know with all the emphasis on increasing productivity and saving time, maybe sports writers could save the time of readers and save the newspapers a bunch of ink by assigning a letter to each cliché. Oh yeah..forgot, the alphabet has only 26 letters.