It seems to me when it comes to political reporting, traditional media cut and paste the facts of the story to fit within 1 of 3 narratives:
1.) Horse race. Who's winning, who's losing.
2.) Strong verses weak. Who got rolled on the bill verses who showed "strength and resolve."
3.) Unity verses disunity. Are the Democrats "sticking together" or has party unity "started to fray." See today's NY Times for example.
That's it. The NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, and CNN are bakers with only three cookie cutters and they force any political story to fit into one of these three narrative templates.
It explains why readers who are looking for thoughtful analysis (i.e. something other than these 3 narratives) increasingly have to turn to the blogosphere for their news and information.
What is more, it explains why we have a moron for a President and are stuck in a quagmire in Iraq -- because even though the Iraq war is a military, political, moral, and economic disaster -- none of those aspects of the story fit inside their 3 narratives. Rather, the way it is reported by the traditional media is that Bush and Cheney won the horse race, they showed strength in pursuing for the war in spite of the facts, and the Republican party has shown unity is sticking together and continuing the quagmire. In every case, forcing the story to fit within these 3 narratives does a disservice to the readers and cheapens our democratic discourse.
No wonder newspaper circulation is down.
(Meanwhile, Faux News functions more like Pravda forcing all of their stories to fit within only 2 narratives: 1.) Democrats Bad or 2.) Republicans Good -- you decide.)