On the nature of spokespeople

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Hamilton Nolan reflects on the role of spokespeople:

[I]t is fundamentally impossible, due to the nature of the position, for anything of value to come out of a political spokesperson’s statement on a political event such as this convention, yet such statements are also a fundamental feature of the news coming out of these events. And it’s not just the official spokespeople. Also at the briefing was Jason Crow, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and who delivered enthusiastic comments in favor of Obama’s work on veteran’s issues and on gays in the military. What do you think of how Obama has actually prosecuted the wars? I asked Crow. He said Obama has used the Army “in a very thoughtful way,” and “the president understands” the tribulations of soldiers now on their eighth and ninth tours of duty.

Though not an official DNC spokesman, Jason Crow has (reasonably) decided to become involve in political issues by allying himself with the Democratic party, which is all well and good—but once doing so, he loses much of his value as an interview subject, because rather than speak his mind, he confines his comments to statements of support for the administration. So what all the political people end up doing is thinking up new and more creative and more superficially nuanced ways to compliment Obama, and the press ends up thinking up new and more creative and more superficially nuanced ways to turn these statements of support into news stories. What is lacking in this whole process is honesty, unpredictability, and the possibility of actual news breaking out.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.