Regardless of the outcome, this campaign has dimmed my enthusiasm for the presidential election. Not because of the campaign itself, which is pretty much how campaigns go. My political dyspepsia comes from the across the board laziness of the commentary I usually rely on to better understand the issues surrounding elections. My expectations that news media will actually use the airwaves to inform and educate has gotten even lower. I’ve come to expect that the three cable news networks will present me with nothing of value after debates. What I am discouraged and frustrated about is the absolute lack of Presidential debate contextualization provided by what has traditionally been my “go to” content for news and analysis.

NPR shows like On Point and the Diane Rheem show have stood out for me as good solid sources of information about policy and politics. But their debate wrap-up shows have evidenced a spread of “horse-raceism” from the cable news networks to what have been more substantive sources. On both shows, the analysis was restricted to how effective messages sounded and who candidates were trying to appeal to rather than examining whether the claims made during the debate were accurate or providing a context for the numbers bandied about.

What’s even worse that lazy “punditry” is self-righteous, lazy punditry. I listened to the Slate Political Gabfest after the second debate to hear the panelists lamenting that “the candidates didn’t say anything substantive” without providing any context or analysis as why they might have been calculating in their answers. In none of these podcasts did I hear anyone mention Congress, the Euro Zone or any other institution which might help listeners frame the presidential debates.

As far as I can tell from listening to these “elite media” sources, here is what I’ve “learned”

1) the president is King of the world and his ability to affect world events is completely dependent upon his own demeanor which should be aggressive but not too aggressive because that “turns off swing voters.”

2) Congress and political parties in the United States have apparently been abolished and have no impact on the president’s ability to realize an agenda or any impact on how candidates shape messages.

3) Political polarization and the minority party’s ability to maintain complete discipline within its ranks that allows it to use tools like the filibuster to block the president at every turn has no effect on policy outcomes.

4) Longstanding historical trends in the global economy or current global economic conditions have no impact on decision making. Our economy is entirely self contained.

5) The information that is pertinent to citizens in determining the best course of action for the future is which candidate engaged in the most “zingers” or which candidate flubbed by akwardly referencing “binders.”

6) Politicians are naturally evasive and fail to answer questions because of their own personal lack of character.