Monday Smackdown: Dana Milbank of the Washington Post
The Economist as...?: The Public Square and Economists

Monday Smackdown: Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin of The New York Times

Live from the Journamalists Self-Made Gehenna: Yes. Reading Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin of the New York Times is like drinking bilge water. Why do you ask?

The smackdown is brought by Steve M.**: Dear New York Times: The Reason for Trump's Rise Wasn't the Tweets: "Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin... go a wee bit overboard blaming it all on new media:

Mr. Trump’s arsenal was far more fearsome. Combining modern-day fame and an age-old demagogy, he bypassed the ossified gatekeepers and appealed directly to voters through a constant Twitter stream that seemed interrupted only by television appearances.... Disaffected voters who tune out the traditional modes of political communication might be reachable through their smartphones, and Twitter messages or Reddits might be more relevant to those voters than the findings of a more scientific poll....

Really, folks--Donald Trump didn't win the Republican nomination because of tweets.... He's been tweeting this way since 2009, and yet when he entered the race in mid-summer 2015 he had a 65% unfavorable rating among Republicans.... Then he made his campaign announcement... on TV... told us that undocumented Mexican immigrants are rapists, an assertion that was endlessly discussed on TV. He attacked John McCain and Megyn Kelly and Muslims, all of which happened or was endlessly discussed on TV. And he defended himself in an endless series of interviews, most of them on TV, as well as speeches, many of the shown unedited and uninterrupted on TV.... Trump's primary means of transmitting his message is TV... free TV time... as of the end of April... up to $2.8 billion.

This isn't the only absurd claim about digital technology on Healy and Martin's part. There's also this:

On the left, too, Senator Bernie Sanders has built his own movement with millions of voters, and $210 million in fund-raising, by using online tools as simple as email to seek support.

He fund-raises using email! O, brave new world! Um, Sanders also gets his message across using TV, although in this case it's paid TV: Sanders has now spent $65.8 million on TV and radio advertising....

I know that print journalists think about digital the way Wile E. Coyote thinks about the Road Runner, but really: TV is where campaigns are made (along with, yes, online donation soliciting, but that's been true for years). If the Internet could elect a president all by itself, we'd have had a President Paul by now, or be on our way to electing one this year.