Archive for Saturday, August 23, 2008

News control

As the suspense over vice-presidential running mates grew this week, the news coverage got a little silly.

August 23, 2008


Sen. Barack Obama sure knows how to frustrate the news media. Whether or not that's a good strategy as he heads into the Democratic National Convention next week is open to debate.

Obama may or may not have named a running mate by the time this is published. He is supposed to appear publicly with his choice later today, but the lid on this news has been so tight that anything is impossible.

Watching the news media - including our own newsroom - follow this story has bordered on comical. Observers across the country have combed every statement made by Obama or any of the people supposedly on his "short list" for any hint of whom he would name - and when.

If he used a masculine pronoun, people wondered if Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius might be out of the running. If he mentioned Sen. Joe Biden by name, suddenly his chances grew. If he made an appearance with Gov. Tim Kaine, eyebrows were raised.

If people already had a designated speaking slot during the convention, did that mean they wouldn't be filling the slot reserved for the vice-presidential nominee? Did the fact that a leaked memo showed Kaine and Sebelius scheduled for appearances on Sunday morning news shows mean they were out of the running?

In the last several days, journalists have been reduced to staking out Biden's driveway and parsing Sebelius' schedule. Never has a routine day in the governor's office been of such interest. And did you know that Sen. Evan Bayh went to his twin sons' tennis camp on Friday?

Give the Obama campaign credit for its disciplined approach to this announcement. The more people wrote and opined on the vice presidential choice, the more obvious it became that everyone outside Obama's innermost circle was only guessing. They had lots of ideas, but virtually no information.

Some commentators have aptly pointed out that the attention focused on Obama's running mate selection, and to a lesser extent, on Sen. John McCain's choice, was an indication of how little of substance there was to report on concerning the presidential campaign. Maybe the candidates are at a point where they just need a little diversion from the campaign grind and decided it would be a good time to torment the news media by creating some artificial suspense.

Once the Olympics are over and the running mates are named, we may have to turn our attention to more meaningful events.


bondmen 9 years, 6 months ago

RevolveR, smart people don't get their news from TV newsreaders, from big city newspapers or national "news' magazines. Trusting their viewpoints and not understanding their motivations is a weakness yet it apparently satisfies a majority with less than the whole story."Bayh"den will get more media attention than Obama and is more presidential than his running mate from Chicago. This was a desperate choice made from a position of weakness and will not solve the big political problems facing Barack Hussein Obama, namely his inexperience and his extremism - they remain. Revolve this evolve...

BigPrune 9 years, 6 months ago

With all the drama from the Obama camp, and apparent indecisions in the VP arena and habitual lying and his classic uhhh's when not reading from a script, could Obama be ADHD?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 6 months ago

And it is not just this stupid vice-president event, either. Much of the local and KC news media has become a circus. Recent "special reports" on KC television news broadcasts are downright misinformation and deceit. Several recent "special reports" on channel 9 have contained blatent lies and misinformation. And emphasis on certain "hot button" topics that seem to have intense emotional impact seem to dominate these ratings-hungry allegedly professional news media outlets.

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