I’ve been wanting for a while now to write something about the structural decline of local news coverage. This is probably the single biggest political development of my lifetime, and while it’s widely recognized, it continues to be seriously underrated.
The basic reality is that politics is heavily mediated by media. When you got your news about Congress primarily from the Washington Bureau of a local newspaper, that gave you a view on national events that emphasized the role of your local delegation and the specific localized impact of the decisions being made. The political scientist Richard Fenno had the concept of a member of Congress’ “Home Style,” which is nominally how they behave in their district back home. But to a large extent here we’re still talking about communicating with a local audience through local reporters (when I interned in Chuck Schumer’s office he was always really interested in doing events that would get…
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