In The Ring With Obama And Hillary

“No blood, few jabs in first presidential debate.” 

“Inside Hillary’s Obama counterattack.” 

Recent headlines such as these make presidential hopefuls seem more like pugilists than politicians, and they can make campaigns seem more like sporting events than part of the democratic process. As media increasingly focus on who’s winning – either the money race or in the polls – Poynter.org’s Steve Klein asks, “Is Politics the New Sports?”.

f you watched any of the “pre-game” and “post-game” coverage of the MSNBC-staged Democratic presidential candidate debate Thursday:

* It took place on a college campus.

* It utilized a band and cheerleaders (literally, not just the pundits and reporters).

* The pre- and post- formats were right out of “ESPN College Gameday” on campus.

* Is Chris Matthews the new Dick Vitale?There’s a long and proud history of sports writers becoming political writers. But these days, political writers act like sports writers/broadcasters.

The presidential election now provides the media with the longest season possible with identifiable games/events like the money game, the debate games, the primary games, the convention games, the final weeks of the season and, ultimately, the election decision (which was extended by “the long count” and a surprise player, the courts, in 2000).

Everyone (well, not illegal immigrants, but that’s a subplot) has a vote, so everyone gets to play, just like the ultimate fantasy game. Where sports sites (like KUSports.com) were once the rage for online innovation, political sites like The Politico crop up like base hits now. You aren’t a player in this game unless you have a site or blog.

Everybody gets to play in this game in some fashion or other — like I said, it’s the ultimate sport. And ultimately, it matters.

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Kerri Rebresh

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