Take this piece in USA Today, which ran in the print edition (3/27/14) under the headline:
Buzz Builds as Rice Pitches for GOP
Some Ask: Will She Run for President?
So what's going on here? Reporter Martha Moore sets things up:
She's a former secretary of State who gives a great speech, has a well-known smile and is a hot political property: making campaign ads, rallying the party faithful and, on Wednesday, keynoting a $1,000-a-plate Washington fundraiser.
Cue the 2016 speculation: Is Condoleezza Rice acting like a future candidate?
Really? Moore comes up with one bizarre defense of this speculation:
Others have sparked more speculation based on less. One trip to Iowa or New Hampshire and she'd be at the top of the list of potential presidential candidates. There is no clear front-runner for the Republican nomination for 2016, and the GOP has emphasized its desire to appeal to women and minority voters.
That's a pretty low standard, but Moore hints that there could be something more to this:
She also mentioned she likes the idea of the nation electing a female president. "I think it would be terrific. I really look forward to that day," she told Parade magazine earlier this month.
Well, now that is intriguing…but USA Today waits until near the end of the piece to tell readers what else Rice said in the same interview:
Unlike Hillary Clinton, another highly visible ex-secretary of State, Rice has said she has no plans to run for any office. "You're not going to get that chance" to vote for her for president, she told Parade.
Oh–now you tell us. So if the question is "Will Condi Rice run for president?" and you know that her on-the-record answer to this is no…. Well, what's the point of this piece again? Remember: Every pointless story that runs in a newspaper takes up space that could have been used to actually inform people.