Sunday, September 23, 2012 Betting on the Horse Race

Kaitlyn Crist

The Forty-Seven Percent 

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard about Mitt Romney being secretly recorded at a fundraiser by Jimmy Carter's grandson saying some unflattering things about Obama supporters.

 Mainly, that there are 47% of people who will vote for Obama only because they don't pay income tax and are dependant on handouts. If you are living under a rock, you are most likely one of the 47%, just saying.

 I put the video (via Liberal website Mother Jones) below, so you can hear for yourself what he said.

A portion of the secretly recorded video from a Romney Fundraiser. Romney speaks about Obama supporters. 
Video via

 Now, despite your views on Romney's statements, it had both sides scratching their heads. Who were these 47% of Americans not paying income tax? Were they hiding under rocks to avoid the federal government?

 It has many crying foul, I mean, that's almost half of America not paying their income taxes? That's a huge number, and it's a problem.

 As the informed voting public, we need answers. We need clarity. We need to overturn every rock until we find all 47% hiding out from the federal government! (That's the last of that joke, I swear).

A Horse Race You Can't Bet On

A political cartoon poking fun at the Romney Statements
RJ Matson /
While in class, we discussed that good political coverage is outside the bound of the "horse race."

Not just "he said, she said" politics, but the depth of what one said. How it will effect the voters come November.

 A GREAT example of this is coverage would be to analyze not only what Romney said, but what it means, who are these people we keep talking about?

I logged onto to get my answers. The site typically has good stories when it comes to the issues.

When the Libyan embassy was attacked, NYT didn't just cover the politics, but the foreign policy implications as well.

I expected the same coverage on the Romney issue. I was very disappointed.

Every article I saw all week had another politician or talking head arguing about what Romney said.

They argued about the video being shot in he first place, about the fact he was at a private fundraiser, about his hair (kidding).

 They argued about everything except if what he said was in fact true.

Headlines like, "Obama Seizes on Romney, Suggests He Is Out of Touch," and, "With Rich Donors, a More Candid Romney Emerges."

 There were droves of stories similar to these on the NYT website this week, which is great for shaping opinion but not gathering the facts.

Diving Into a Shallow Pool

I did do a search about the 47% on the NYT website, and did find one opinion article analyzing the facts of the speech. Unfortunately, I am over my read limit (something I plan to discuss later), and cannot share that particular story with you.

Despite this, the point isn't about the story itself, but the disappointing amount of in-depth coverage about Romney's speech.

I have heard enough of the "he said, she said" in politics. I get plenty of finger-pointing from the copious amounts of political ads on television.

If I'm going to log on to find my political news, I want more depth than what the campaigns are offering, and unfortunately, for this situation, I am not getting that from the NTY.

Hopefully, during the next political gaff or campaign scandal (trust me, there WILL be one), NYT does a better job of covering the issues and implications and not just the horses trampling on each other for your vote.

On a side note, here is an excellent story fact-checking Romney's comments, something that all outlets should be doing when statements like this are released.
In case you're wondering who the 47% are.

NBC Nightly News analyses who the 47% really are. 
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