Pet peeve

Why is it that, every single national election year, the mainstream news commentators have to repeatedly mention that the entire House is being elected this year as if this is some obscure part of US election law that they just personally discovered? Congressional seats are elected every two years, meaning every national election. We get it already.

I suppose this says something about their expectations for the understanding of their audience, but I think that's also a cop-out. Talk down to people too much and you create an expectation that a low level of understanding is adequate and expected. Make people reach a bit.

Of course, one thing that watching PBS NewsHour regularly has made abundantly clear is that there's actually only about a half-hour of real national news each day. PBS manages to cover all the facts in the real news and do several documentary segments in less than an hour every day. The cable news stations have to fill the other twenty-three and a half hours of the day by pointing out to us that all of the House, every single seat, even your representative, stands for election every two years. Including this year. In this election. Coming right up. On Tuesday.

I hear that one consequence of this election may be that the parties in control of Congress might change.

Posted: 2006-11-04 23:44 — Why no comments?

If you'd asked me before reading your post, I would have said that only half the House is elected every two years. And this from someone who prides himself on being more in touch with foreign politics than most.

The strangest part of it is that if you'd asked me how long a Representative's term is, I would have correctly answered two years.

I have no idea how I've managed to hold those two contradictory beliefs to be true for so long. Clearly it's some sort of conflation with the Senate, but it's still pretty odd given that only a third of the Senate is up for grabs every two years.

Posted by Dean Edmonds at 2006-11-05 18:55

I'd give you a bad time about this, except you're Canadian and therefore allowed (and didn't get this in elementary school like everyone educated in the US did or should have).

I guess it does mean that some of the refreshing of the basics is worthwhile, though.

Posted by eagle at 2006-11-05 19:04

Last spun 2013-07-01 from thread modified 2013-01-04