One of the reasons I think that this country has become less and less governable is the perpetual campaign, and the coverage that goes with it. Because so little background research is required, it is just much cheaper to call the horse race than it is to do investigative reporting. Thus, in a era where newsroom budgets keep on falling, we get more and more election coverage and "analysis", while the actions of people actually running the government get less and less scrutiny.
The 2012 election cycle, it seems, has started. In what I would call a blatant ratings stunt, ABC News and a local New Hampshire affiliate are reporting on a "straw poll" of potential 2012 Republican presidential nomination candidates held last week, over 21 months away from the election. Twenty-one months. The results are meaningless, anyway, as no delegates were assigned and participation of Republican party operatives was below 50%. But nonetheless, some mid-level director at ABC thought up this pseudo-event, approved it, and budgeted for it. And then ABC covered the stunt like it was real news. To make matters worse, other news outlets have picked up the story, amplifying the total non-event and giving it credibility it doesn't deserve.
What a total waste of human intellect.