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Pick out the types of people that you expect to find. The Wall Street banker who laughs heartily every time he sends another widow to the poorhouse, the devoutly religious used-car dealer, the closeted conservative policy wonk and the lady who claims Obama is a space alien. It makes no difference whether or not you actually encounter any of these people because these are the people you expect to encounter and so you will write about them before you even go to Tampa. You will write about them even before you look up Tampa on a map to make sure that it isn’t in Africa.
Flatter your readers by making them feel superior to Republicans in every way. Condescendingly describe their strange opinions about liberty and small government in the same way that 18th Century explorers reported on the customs of the Zulu. The fact that they keep winning elections, like the existence of bands you abhor, movies you look down on and books you despise, reassures you and your readers that you are a superior class of people chosen by the slow march of evolution to help lift the ragged masses of gun-clingers and bible-thumpers out of the Jurassic mud. And if not them, then perhaps their college-educated offspring.
You will write about Republicans as enemies of all that is good and decent, on a mission to destroy our way of life, which consists of cowboy poetry, gay marriage, gay cowboy poetry and forcing Catholic priests to perform abortions on transsexual gay cowboys.
If you must write about the actual events on the convention stage, because the editors at your newspaper, magazine or progressive blog disguised as an online magazine actually care about that sort of thing, be sure to show your disdain for the proceedings. Convey to your readers that only a fool would confuse this parade of glib lies and subsonic racist dog whistles with the unimpeachable integrity and political heroism of the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
Tell the story that you came to tell about a party of rich white men at war with the forward march of history. When you encounter minorities, ignore them because they are only a minority of the attendees and are only there to fool you into thinking that Republicans aren’t racists. Speculate that they might actually be plain old rich white men with tans.
Pay as little attention to the speeches as possible. Everything that you need to know about what is said on the stage, including how many times Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Ann Romney, Mitt Romney, Condoleezza Rice, the Olympians, Artur Davis and the guy making all the announcements lied, will come to you next morning in the email from ThinkProgress or Media Matters. After a few minutes of reading through their condensed talking points, you will pass on an even more digested digest to your readers so that they needn’t waste their time actually listening to what the reactionary running dog capitalist swine plotting to destroy the icebergs with uncontrolled exhalations and bring back big band music have to say for themselves.
You are a journalist and your job is not to report on events but to tell the thoughtless masses whether the events are good or bad. It is your duty to brave the wilds of Tampa, to talk to people from flyover country who talk with weird accents and to make fun of them in your reportage. It is your mission, should you accept it, to use your experiences among the crazed masses of constitutionalists and horrible hordes of hard-bitten racists to illustrate the low character, bad morals and ugly physiognomies of the Republican Party.
And then when the balloons have been swept up and the parties have all ended, climb into your rental Prius and go home.
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