R. Justin Shepherd | PART-TIME PUNDIT


Do you feel that thrill going up your leg?
22.July.2008, 12.33 pm
Filed under: politics | Tags: , ,

Another strange bit of politics, tipped by Politico (which should be your every-hour click if you’re into the minutia of politics). I was thinking about this thread of thought on my way in from lunch, and this just confirms the need to talk a bit about it. But first, I’ll let you read what Jonathan Martin had to say, along with a very funny (and very weird) video paid for by the McCain campaign.

The McCain campaign is picking up where Saturday Night Live left off: Guilting reporters for purportedly being soft on Barack Obama. They’ve begun a contest on their website under the headline: “The Media is in LOVE with Barack.” … Asked why they are engaging in media-bashing, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers replied: “Love for ‘The One’ is in the air.”

If you’re thinking you’ve seen this before, you have… “SNL” played it up, effectively writing a line of attack for Hillary Clinton (who paraphrased the sketch, albeit in a bitter, whiny way, during a debate). And despite the fact that she lost the nomination, it seemed somewhat effective—Obama’s numbers went down in the last half of the campaign, but he came out on top anyway thanks to better organization.

The sensible part of me says that this new ad (which is likely Web-only) is a bit silly. It pulls the classic Michael Moore routine of out-of-context quotes, insinuations and the like in an effort to make people react with… what, exactly? As the New Yorker proved last week, satire is a dying art, and the ultimate message of the ad just isn’t very clear. It’s meant to poke fun at the media, but does that truly help McCain? (The same McCain who is far more involved with the media—he did all three morning shows on Monday—than Obama, the same McCain that actual press observers say has such a rapport with the media who ride on the Straight Talk Express, the same McCain who denied reporters passage on his recent tour of the Mideast and who now claims they’re “in the tank” for riding along with Obama.)

Now, I am entirely in favor of showing Chris Matthews for what he is, which is a syrupy liberal with no substantial journalism credibility (though he does seem to have a keen political eye, even if it’s tilted far left). But Tucker Carlson is made to look like an Obama supporter, when in fact he was a die-hard McCainian in 2000 and now is presumably a Ron Paul man. Joe Scarborough snipes at Obama daily on his morning show; Charlie Gibson is part of the dynamic duo (along with ex-Clintonite Stephanopolus) that hit Obama hard with charges of terrorist-abetting thanks to a prod from Fox’s Sean Hannity; Lou Dobbs is no authority on objective journalism… and what’s with that shot of Barack and his, um, crotch-ity stance???

That this tack still works is surprising—and not only works but works well. The “people” get the impression that the media has a hard bias toward A CANDIDATE (not just a slant toward a set of political principles, which can be seen in various directions in various career paths), and so presume that “they” are “hiding” “something.” Meanwhile, the media actually caves to the assertion, and proceeds to examine the supposedly “beloved” candidate harder than they do the supposed underdog. Consider:

• How often has McCain been asked about his wife’s income? (Hardly at all.)

• How often has Obama been asked about his pastor? (For weeks on end.)

• How often has McCain’s pre-surge record on Iraq been examined by a major outlet? (It hasn’t.)

• How often has Obama’s ranking of “most liberal member of the Senate” been brought up? (Every day.)

• How many magazine covers have made John McCain look like a terrorist/racist/America-hater? (Zero.)

• How often was Obama questioned about his lack of flag pin? His addition of flag pin? (Ugh.)

It may seem to you, as it obviously does to the McCain camp, that Obama’s press coverage is entirely favorable. Thankfully, however, it is summertime and the election is not really the focus of most normal people. But mark my words: Come autumn, the “biased” media will have found a lot of tough, non sequitur questions to pose to Obama in debates… and a lot of policy-based questions to ask McCain. Replay 2004’s Bush-Kerry debates for proof: Democrats get their character questioned; Republicans get to smile and act smart on issues of wonk. McCain’s a terrible presidential candidate, but it’s Obama’s to lose—and if anyone can help him achieve that, it’s the “liberal media.”

UPDATE: Ben Smith, also of Politico, makes the following astute point:

In truth, and while there are other dynamics going on, the central issue is just sheer volume. There’s vastly more public interest in, and coverage of, Obama. His rise is a better, newer, story. That means that McCain’s message has been muted; but his missteps are too. He’s been able, in particular, to make it this far with a domestic policy agenda whose sheer vagueness wouldn’t have made it through the Democratic primary. …

As for the McCain video I tend to think the notion of reporters’ personal preferences are overstated. Many reporters who have covered McCain really like him personally, and have had extended personal contact with him. That’s far less true of Obama’s press corps, which gets almost no access to the candidate. But the Obama story is a great story to tell, and there’s no arguing that the media — responding to its audience — isn’t taken with it [bold mine-RJ].

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2 Comments so far
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Asking about someone earing and someone listen to racial crap doesn’t even add up, C. McCains money has nothing to do with leading this country, however racial crap and hate, and questions about where someone comes from, why he listened to someone shouting GOD DAM AMERICA, his fathers a muslim, and him showing nothing for the flag, this bothers me bad, i have nothing for this young man, and i hope like hell he doesn’t win, this isn’t what i want for my leader, the news people should all go to hell after this crap, this young man is sick, and the people that can believe in him are also sick, GOD HELP US ALL, no one can bring changes like this all over the world.

Comment by j.Barnett

I’d respond to this, but I have NO IDEA where to start.

Comment by R. Justin




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