Friday, June 12, 2009

Rookie Representatives: CNN's "Freshman Year"

CNN has an interesting web-based series documenting the experiences of two rookie members of the class of 2008: Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Jared Polis (D-CO). Both are not your cut-from-a-mold Members of Congress. Chaffetz is the cherub-faced family man and former college place kicker who upset a six-term incumbent and now sleeps on a cot in his office. Polis is a former Internet entrepreneur and the first open gay man elected to the House as a freshman.

I, along with my American Congress students, will be watching this series and looking forward to future installments.


Anonymous said...

I am surprised that a professor of politics such as yourself would find this series anything more than glorification of self-righteousness by both representatives. I do not feel that this series genuinely reflects the work or complication of issues that congress faces every day.

With both of these representatives at either end of the political spectrum, I see this series as just another glorified reality series that is edited to reflect partisanship more than the actual workings of congress.

I would hope that a person in your position would have more insight into politics and the true working of capitol hill, not some sleazy faux reality show.

I have been reading your blog for some time now, and I usually enjoy the interesting and sometimes rare information and insight into the world of politics. But this does not qualify in either category.

DC said...


I think giving members of Congress a video camera to document their out-of-the-ordinary life is a great idea. Of course it does not "genuinely reflect the work or complication of issues that congress faces every day." If it did, no one would watch it. C-SPAN covers Congress (& few watch C-SPAN); this is not meant to be C-SPAN.

Are both representatives spinning what we see? Of course. Are some of the things you see on the show contrived? Of course. But at least you get to see things you normally wouldn't see. Will it win an Emmy? No. But it does capture my attention.

I also showed 1 episode in my Congress class and it spurred on a great discussion.

I admit it. I like reality shows. Can't help it. American Idol, Top Chef, etc., I like it. I find people interesting.

Oh, and thanks for regularly reading the blog. I didn't know anyone actually did.

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