My new column at CJR contrasts the questionable value-add for horse race journalism with the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, where good insider reporting is desperately needed. Here's how it begins:
We’ve just finished an election in which quantitative analysis provided far more accurate predictions than pundits and reporters, who frequently offered claims and analysis that were not informed by high-quality poll averages or basic political science. As a result, traditional journalists are licking their wounds and trying to re-evaluate how they can add value to campaign coverage.
Almost as quickly, however, the media’s focus has shifted from the election to the negotiations between President Obama and Congressional Republicans over how to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff”—a topic where polls and quantitative analysis have relatively little to offer. Reporters, by contrast, have a great deal to contribute—indeed, they are the best source of information we have on the terms of the debate between the parties and the structure of the dynamics within each caucus.
For more, read the whole thing.