To use one simple example, running for president has changed dramatically since George W. Bush won reelection in 2004. Yet changes in electioneering technique rarely besmirch the pages of The Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Conservative journals like The Weekly Standard, Commentary, or National Review will carry more stories about comic book movies this cycle than they will stories about how campaigns are using technology in new ways. Of course there are exceptions, but they are precisely that: exceptions.
The conservative press’s fixation with personality and aesthetics stands in stark contrast to the left wing press on the one hand, and to grassroots conservative media on the other. Spend some time over at Daily Kos. Its devotion to the intimate details of modern campaigning is enviable, and one suspects it helps drive the left’s small donor culture by engaging supporters in the day-in, day-out process of politics.
There’s a deep hunger for conservative process journalism, an appetite that incumbent publications do not satisfy. Readers can find a good deal of high quality writing on process scattered around the web of course. Head over to the Decision Desk HQ to marvel at what a handful of devoted conservative bloggers have built. And pay for a monthly subscription while you’re there. Nonetheless, if the leading journals of conservative opinion refuse to take process seriously, they will remain poor gatekeepers.