Daily News reporter says I misquoted her. I say I didn't. You decide.

I had a little exchange with a political reporter from the Daily News on Twitter. She says I misreported her views. I don't think so. We need you to referee it.


  1. It began with an observation about a pattern I have written about for many years: horse race journalism.  

  2. Celeste Katz, political reporter for the New York Daily News, objected to that, which is fine, good, part of what criticism and journalism are about...
  3. Here, Celeste Katz is saying that I am unfairly equating all election coverage with horse race journalism. Which is a little strange because my observation begins, "Whenever you see horse race coverage..."  Meaning: When you see it, this is what's really going on.

    So I attempt to put her two observations together into one tweet....

  4. Which brought this response....

  5. It's also a little odd that a professional reporter ignores the difference between a paraphrase and a quote. A quote has quote marks around it. What Katz really means is that I paraphrased her incorrectly, which to me is a more serious charge.  She went on....

  6. This sheds a little more light on what's really bothering Katz. Not that I misquoted her, because I didn't. Rather, she thinks I am suggesting that reporters are lazy, that they just look at polls rather than going out and reporting. But this is not what I said and not what I believe.

    I think reporting on election reporting is grueling work. Political reporters assigned to the campaign work hard. And what they mainly work hard at is... horse race coverage! The idea that a focus on voters is antithetical to horse race coverage misunderstands what the term "horse race coverage" means. The idea that if you cover "issues" or add "analysis," then you are not doing horse race coverage also misunderstands what the term means.

    It means coverage that is mainly about: who's ahead, who's going to win, what are the dynamics of the race and how are the candidates positioning themselves for victory? Issues can be viewed through that lens. So can voters. Or a campaign debate. It's the preferred narrative strategy in the campaign press. I think most journalists know this. I know for sure that lots of readers do.

    And besides, if you're freezing your butt or sweating the pounds off in Iowa reporting on the campaign, you do need to ask yourself why you and hundreds of other reporters are there in the first place. Because of Iowa's perceived importance in the horse race! 

    But to Katz, "horse race coverage" means "reporting on polls." Thus...

  7. A little while later, I returned to Twitter and found that Katz was repeatedly charging me with misquoting her. I objected to that...

  8. Katz was adamant...
  9. You can decide.  

    Katz said, "Horserace coverage comes from polling of voters," which I paraphrased as... "horse race coverage is really about the voters." 

    Katz said, I've been there, "it's not all horse race coverage." Which I paraphrased as "horse race coverage isn't the dominant frame."

    Was she done wrong?

  10. All I can say to that one is: look at my tweet again.... 

    Whenever you see horse race coverage, think of it as journalist saying to you: "This is our thing. This belongs to us. This is not yours."