Friday, July 25, 2008

Whence, "The Only Serious Book . . . ?" *

John McCain had a great opening line, which he delivered at a Lance Armstrong Livestrong Foundation event for cancer survivors yesterday, held at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The occasion was billed as a Presidential Townhall meeting. Both candidates had been invited. Multi-year Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong is a cancer survivor, as is John McCain, who has had a few bouts with skin melanoma.

Said McCain, after being warmly introduced by Lance Armstrong:

My opponent, of course, is traveling in Europe, and tomorrow his tour takes him to France. In a scene that Lance would recognize, a throng of adoring fans awaits Senator Obama in Paris -- and that's just the American press.
According to Jonathan Martin on Politico, however, he said he heard the delivery was followed by an awkward laugh. Well, having seen it on NECN video, I'm not so sure awkward is correct. It was a pretty full laugh, to be sure. But the audience laughed and applauded as well. That's not awkward.

The point McCain made is certainly well taken. If Barack Obama has suffered any lasting damage by exposure at all on this whirlwind tour of Europe, it seems quite clear that it has been entirely self-induced -- such as, by abruptly cancelling a planned visit to wounded American troops at a hospital in Germany, and offering an inexcusable and lame explanation for doing so.

Many commentators have correctly noted that McCain used to enjoy excellent press coverage himself, even joking that the press was his "base." But more recently, he has found himself out in the cold.

Now comes word from The New Republic reporter Gabriel Sherman, who strongly suggests that the American press affair with Barack Obama is officially yesterday's news.

End of the Affair details several recent incidents that suggest that the heart of the matter from the press perspective is the Obama campaign's defensiveness over reporters queries regarding two primary issues: the Barack Obama biography, and problems that he has with certain groups of voters.

Reporters who have covered Obama's biography or his problems with certain voter blocs have been challenged the most aggressively. "They're terrified of people poking around Obama's life," one reporter says. "The whole Obama narrative is built around this narrative that Obama and David Axelrod built, and, like all stories, it's not entirely true. So they have to be protective of the crown jewels." Another reporter notes that, during the last year, Obama's old friends and Harvard classmates were requested not to talk to the press without permission.
If it true, as Sherman claims in this TNR piece, that the affair is indeed over, one immediate question comes to mind -- who will be the one to say, "Look, I think it would be best if we both began seeing other people."

And, Bob Barr hardly fits the bill as anyone's likely "rebounder" candidate!

For those who has been around since Neil Sedaka was burning up the pop charts, back in the mid-sixties, let's just remember that indeed Breakin' Up Is Hard to Do. Ed Morrissey at HotAir quite appropriately plucked that song title as the header for his take on the subject of the TNR piece. There is simply a basic truth to that sentiment, which probably explains why few songs in pop history have been more recorded (or parodied), and by a broader array of artists.

So, both Ed and Allapundit at Hot Air are taking the cynics view of the likelihood this TNR article portends any sort final break, or even much more than a temporary a cold shoulder from the media. Agreed.

Says Ed:
However, as as Allahpundit said last night, I’d doubt that the media will suddenly send a Dear Barack letter to the campaign and rediscover their amorous passion for McCain, and for a simple reason — Obama’s younger and better looking, and has better sound bites. Obama sells, and the media’s passion will follow both the money and their own progressive biases. Besides, they have to compete with their European counterparts, who clearly haven’t become jaded with the Obamessiah yet:
He's got that right! Just read the clip he quoted from the article by German magazine reporter for Bild, Judith Bonesky! Matt Drudge has posted the original today!

No, I am not kidding -- that is the name of the reporter, who quite openly flirted in a touchy-feely sort of way with Senator Obama during a workout in a German gym, and who then actually concluded her piece breathlessly following his workout . . . "What a man!" Some people -- and not just reporters -- cannot get anywhere near a person with perceived power without literally losing their minds. Glenn Beck correctly anticipated that one, as he was noting the depth of media fascination with everything Obama!

And, there is one more important reason to treat the TNR article with a grain of salt.

The public itself is currently focusing with a gimlet eye on the obvious political bias in the news media.

That is clearly reflected in a recent Rasmussen poll indicating that an increasing percentage of Americans believe that reporters are actively trying to help Obama win election; in stories about lopsided political contributions by new media figures going to Democrats; by the sheer magnitude of the "major media extravaganza" response to Senator Obama's trip; and by the specific New York Times refusal to print an Op-Ed on the subject of Iraq written by Senator McCain, though they had just fully printed one written by Senator Obama.

Today's Drudge Report is rife with links to media bias stories. For example, Howard Kurtz's "Obama Abroad: We Get the Picture," in the Washington Post.

To the extent that that the public recognizes and sees through the mainstream media bias, including, in some very recent instances, actual censoring filters, it is in the strong interest of those whose bias leans left to at least try to counteract that perception, or to at least try and throw up some sort of smokescreen.

What better than a story formally announcing that the Obama flirtation by the media is now officially over? Let's not forget that in the relatively recent past, TNR, a left-leaning publication, was certainly not above enabling the wholesale manufacture of a story in order to press an agenda -- remember Scott Thomas Beauchamp -- and even sticking with it when they got caught.

No, the media affair with Barack does not appear to be done with. As I recall, Hud Bannon once contradicted Homer, saying, "Well . . . it may be over. But it's not done with, not by a long shot!"


*Walter Lippman once said that that newspapers were the "Bible of democracy," and, further that a newspaper, "is the only serious book most people read."

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