The Time We Wasted on Huckabee

Dozens of major media stories have speculated about whether or not Mike Huckabee would run for president. Why?

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Now that we know that Mike Huckabee isn't going to run for president, it's worth pointing out that all the time spent reporting, writing, and reading about his intentions over the last several months has been totally wasted. Given that there is always worthy news going unreported, wouldn't it be better to mostly ignore potential candidates for the presidency until they actually declare?

Doing so would certainly remove the ability of folks seeking celebrity or TV ratings to game the system. Under the "no coverage until you declare" convention, for example, America would've been spared all matters Donald Trump over the last couple months, save The Celebrity Apprentice, where he is actually somewhat likeable (perhaps due to the juxtaposition with the show's villain, Star Jones). My proposed standard would also afford relative unknowns an opportunity to declare early and make their case to the public via a political press freed from covering folks who ultimately don't run anyway.

Finally, it should be said that even if Huckabee had decided to run, the speculative stories trying to predict his eventual decision would've been just as pointless. And was the American public really eager to read all those stories? I submit that lots of speculative questions are more interesting.

Image credit: Reuters

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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