You’re much too good to be true, John McCain. Can’t take my eyes off you. I want to hold you so much. No, really I do. Your campaign staff is so clever. They think that by releasing a video of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons intoning this old 60s chestnut (like the chestnut that you are yourself), with clips of big name reporters like Chris Matthews and Lee Cowan of NBC News saying loving things about Obama is a nifty dig at the media. You’re making the point that the media has fallen all over themselves, that they are “in the tank” for him, according to this somehow current expression.
Meanwhile, you’re over here in Maine talking to George HW Bush, rolling along in a golf cart, stopping once in a while to say a little something to some senior citizens in visors. You tell us what you think of this contrast. Somehow your answer is simply to have your staff come up with a video that lampoons the press, release it, then assume the equally cynical public, can vote on a proper Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons nugget to go along with this clip. Frankie who? Exactly.
The media bias is unfortunately true and thus well documented. That really is blowhard Chris Matthews talking about a feeling in his leg when he hears Obama speak. That is Lee Cowan, national correspondent, saying what he says, outside a 75,000 strong Obama rally in the Midwest. But who is to deny the certain newsworthiness of the Obama candidacy? I realize it’s a little embarrassing to go so overboard, and in Matthews’ case, utter the dumbest and most mean-spirited comments about Hillary Clinton. She did get slapped around because she was a woman.
And in the enormous coverage that has attended this week’s Obama “Across The World Summer Tour 2008″, all the major networks have sent their top anchorpeople, with Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson apparently snagging consecutive Obama interviews for their evening newscasts. But yes, this is news too. When have we ever seen in modern American history, a Presidential nominee who takes a tour to war regions and visits allies before he gets (or doesn’t get) the job as President? That’s news.
It may be a little presumptuous, but we all know Obama’s staff has planned all this to shore up his foreign policy qualifications and show that he knows what is going on with the surge in Iraq. Again, that’s news too. It’s a strategy that he can get away with and, with an impressive phalanx of reporters and a couple of senators coming along, it certainly resembles a Presidential visit. (Those reporters from The New Yorker, like Ryan Lizza who wanted passes to come along? Uh uh. Payback’s a bitch.) And oh yeah, and he can afford all this. Somehow we do forget that Obama is a Senator himself, and that he is not just some guy who makes an occasional powerful speech or who just disposed of a formidable, if deeply flawed rival to the Democratic nomination.
So what gives? Clearly McCain wants his own spotlight this week and this video is supposed to be part of the ploy. McCain is looking for a camera when he can find it each day this week to bemoan something that Obama has said, but his efforts are looking a little feeble compared to the marathon coverage. Is that Chancellor Merkel? Check. Are they readying the Victory Column in Berlin for Obama? Check. Meet Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace tomorrow? Yes. Is the press simply supposed to stop covering this for this week? Going overboard? Probably, but it’s hard to make the point that this isn’t worth covering or, more interestingly, that the coverage itself is worth covering. We haven’t seen anything like an Obama candidacy in many years. I am not being partisan in saying that. I am simply stating an observable fact, one that has been documented this past spring and summer.
Finally, I wonder whether on the last day of the Obama Rockapalooza Tour this week, McCain may decide to choose his running mate. Now that will get him some much-needed press. Go ahead, Senator McCain, get your moment in the sun. See if you can time it so Chris Matthews has to interrupt his own unwatchable show, just as he covers Obama shaking hands with Gordon Brown at no.10 Downing Street, with this line:
“We have an announcement from Senator McCain. He will choose…..Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota!”
[Via The New York Times]