VVD TAKES LEFT,’ was the capslock conviction on Tuesday, with underneath: ‘Image of the “early party” shattered with a reduction in the maximum speed.’ ‘German scoff at 100’, was the scoop on top of it the day after, coming from the only country in the world without a speed limit on the highway. To end the weekend with: ‘VVD with its back to society’, finished with the inevitable poll: minus two seats – or the margin of error. De Telegraaf: ‘Poll: Rutte’s position is weakening’. Crumpled away at the bottom of the message: 39 percent were negative about the decision, 40 percent positive.

Just explain that: coalitions looking for a solution

In the meantime, I saw a completely different reality. In a nutshell: the government is confronted by the judge with the uncomfortable scientific facts (the nitrogen problem), is forced to act immediately by a dire consequence (construction has come to a standstill), and, sure enough, transcends the largest coalition partner out of national interest. her party interest and comes with a step towards a solution.

Symbol journalism: politics as a game without a country

While: what De Telegraaf is doing here is of course mainly symbolic journalism. Journalism that turns politics into a game – with winners and losers, but without land to be governed. Politics in which facts only stand in the way of party programs, every compromise is called a ‘turn’, and every decision that is inconsistent with the election campaign ‘betrayal of the rank and file’. And the chocolate letter newspaper is not alone in this. ‘Tough day for early evening party’, de Volkskrant echoed its right-wing ‘counterpart’ on the front page. De Wereld Draait Door spoke of a ‘flat defeat’, in an item entitled ‘VVD in a corner?’. Credit where credit is due: NRC at least showed the realization that government is more than party politics by using the words ‘Coalition finds a way out in the headline.

Horse racing news: the source of cynicism and populism

This brings us to the big problem of this kind of political horse racing reporting: there is no notion of ‘general interest’ underlying it and so she has no idea what outcome the ‘game’ that is called politics should have. What remains is to judge the parties on how they play the game – with popularity among the grassroots as the only moral measure. No, the VVD is not my party – enough liberal hypocrisy and fraudulent party members to be critical. And of course, the nitrogen problem has been ignored by The Hague for years Read this excellent piece in Trouw: ‘How the nitrogenous drought grew and came into the world’.and certainly not yet referred to the history books. But the long-term consequence of winner-loser journalism is an increasingly deep-rooted cynicism about politics as a whole.

Because it makes politics nothing more than the promotion of self-interest – and of every decision an automatic abandonment of some constituency. If the builder is chosen, the driver is betrayed (‘VVD engages!’); if one chooses the motorist, then the farmer is the loser (‘CDA denies voter!’) – to infinity. Or like the paper News Frames, Political Cynicism, and Media Cynicism Summarizes well: when political reporting revolves around strategy and party interests, ‘politics is no longer seen as a desire to solve social problems, adjust national goals or create a better future for future generations, but as a matter of winning. . And winning means promoting your own interests and realizing the agenda.’ And precisely that cynical image of politics is what drives populism. For the populist says: coalitions are cartels, compromises are treason, and facts are nothing more than ideologically colored expressions of political self-interest. In that world, problems do not even exist at all if it does not suit the supporters.