Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

What your papers decided for you this AM

Do you read the paper editions of the New York Times? The Washington Post?

If so, this morning was both a profound disappointment and a confirmation about the motives of the traditional media.

Both papers featured large pictures of Barack Obama in Berlin. But neither paper could resist biasing their coverage.

The Times? Leads with another questionable headline: Obama, Vague on Issues, Pleases Crowd in Europe

Vague on issues? You wanted him to get into a domestic policy speech in Berlin? When Ronald Reagan said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” was he being too vague about the wall he was referring to? Was he wrong not to give Gorbachev a twelve-point plan for tearing down the wall?

When John Kennedy said “Ich bin ein Berliner”, was he being too vague? Should he have referred to the particular street he lived on in Berlin? Should he have mentioned his neighbors, the Schmidts?

And the Post, believe it or not, was even worse.

While Post did have a nice picture of the speech – it didn’t get addressed until page 6. Page SIX. Don’t believe me? Read the byline on the link.

What important story was above the fold? A rumor that McCain MIGHT pick a running mate sometime in the next few days. Yes, a RUMOR about PROCESS was more important than Obama’s groundbreaking speech.

Should Barack Obama start dealing in rumors? Is that what he needs to do to crack the media bias?


What else did the Post decide to put on the front page? The twelfth part of story on Chandra Levy and a story about “E-teachers.” Yes, the 7 year-old murder, and the fact that some people are taking courses online, was more important than a major foreign policy speech by a Presidential candidate.

If you want to learn why print is dying – this morning is a very good lesson.


July 25, 2008 - Posted by | foreign policy, Media Strategy | ,


  1. Don’t forget L.A. Times:,0,7143612.story

    To be fair, despite some flaw, this article is much more valid than some of the others.

    Comment by dansac | July 25, 2008 | Reply

  2. So, I’m going to out and say it: I don’t think he should’ve done the speech. It wasn’t very good since it was too cagy and the media is starting to tear down what has otherwise been a great trip.

    Quick question: is there any good to keeping the media so at bay?

    Comment by Suzie Q | July 25, 2008 | Reply

  3. Meh, gonna disagree with you Suzie. The speech was fine, was pretty vanilla. I don’t think the media is starting to tear it down at all, they’re just downplaying its significance. Which is fine, he is just a candidate.

    I think the speech is just one part of the trip, but the Iraqis endorsing his plan for withdrawal is the part that will be remembered.

    Comment by dansac | July 25, 2008 | Reply

  4. The fish-wrap media will not decide this election. Still, as a NY Times reader and subscriber for almost 50 years (and a Post regular for more than 20), I’m increasingly disappointed by the decisions both papers make about what is news. With so many of their deeply experienced editors and reporters taking buyout packages, it’s hardly surprising that decision making suffers.

    Comment by DMIinNYC | July 25, 2008 | Reply

  5. Thank you for expressing my concern about the American media’s desire to play down ANY success of Barack Obama — regardless of how impressive — while ignoring and covering over some of the most ridiculous statements I’ve ever heard, which are being made by John McCain. It hurts me personally to think my countrymen and women in the media can be so silly as to believe bold-face lies told by McCain. At the same time making a positive statement about Barack, only to add (almost without pausing) a negative statement or doubt about what they are seeing with their own eyes. John McCain is beginning to look like a fool who may not last through the convention. I am listening to cable news shows less and less because I cannot bear o hear the man speak and yet he gets top coverage because the media is afraid of…what? To the media I say, “Yeah, sure, 200,000 German citizens with nothing else to do turned out on a summer day to wait in the hot sun for hours because they wanted to hear a remarkable man speak so they could criticize him for what he said! THAT is SO frustrating to me and I’m glad to hear others feel that way too.

    Comment by Sally Saffer | July 25, 2008 | Reply

  6. Heck in Charlotte North Carolina it did not even make it to the front page, the photo was buried on page 4A.

    Comment by Rick | July 25, 2008 | Reply

  7. First, I would like to say that we all prove that the traditional “news” is “old news”, so who really cares what the papers do or do not print. I myself only read the OpEd section, it’s always funny, and sometimes raises my heart rate like a good run. Now to MY opinion of the “Great Speech”….

    1) It was a completely bad idea. It is unprecedented for a CANDIDATE (I’m sorry his is a JUNIOR Senator from the state of Illinois) to travel to foreign countries and talk about foreign policy as if he is already president. I challenge you to name me ONE presidential CANDIDATE who has EVER done that during a campaign???

    2) If the press were biased against Barack Obama, they would have mentioned the CONTEXT of the 200,000 people that showed up for the speech. You see, there was a free rock concert before the speech, where they gave out FREE BEER and BRATWURSTS!!! Now, I’m no scientist, but that sounds kinda skewed, no? Picture it, free Toby Keith and Eagles concert were they give away free beer and chicken wings…and John McCain speaks between sets. How many people do you think I can get a picture of in front of John McCain, huh?

    3) It is NOT Germans who will be voting for this man. It is things like this that lost him Pennsylvannia and other primaries. He IS an elitist, an intellectual elitist. (BTW, IMO intellectual elitists are generally NOT as smart as they THINK they are…just my opinion). Most Americans DO NOT CARE what Germany or France or England…or,..or,..we just don’t care. Americans care about the economy, PERIOD. So why did he do all this in the first place? IMO, I think he’s doing it to give himself SOMETHING (nay, ANYTHING) of a foreign policy experience. He is woefully inexperienced to be president. He, IMO, thinks the American people (not me, maybe you though) are stupid enough to beleive a couple of meetings and a few speeches equal experience. Name me ONE Senatorial Committe or Sub-Committe he has ever been on, let alone chaired?

    In summmation…I study history, I do it because I love it. History truely does repeat itself. People are trying to make Barack Obama into the next John Kennedy. The problem is it just doesn’t make sense. John Kennedy was, IMO, the last Democrat EVERYBODY could vote for. To use those timeless words from the ’88 campaign…”Mr. Obama you are NO JACK KENNEDY”………..

    Comment by Brad | July 25, 2008 | Reply

  8. Brad- To respond to your points.

    1- You challenge me to name one presidential candidate who has ever traveled overseas to talk about foreign policy? Well that one’s easy. John McCain. Senator McCain would like people to forget that his campaign has included stops in Canada and Columbia, among other countries.

    2- This is so ridiculous that I don’t even know where to begin. In your world, 200,000 people waited hours in line, went through security checkpoints, and stood out in the blaring sun to get some Bratwursts. I know it may be too much to ask to look at a German newspaper, but if you do you’ll clearly see the massive excitement in Germany over the speech.

    3- Yes, you are correct that German citizens cannot vote in the election (although million of American citizens who live overseas can). However, many Americans, whether they live in San Fransico or Pittsburg, want America’s image as the leader of the free world to be restored overseas. They are looking for a President who can interact with the rest of the world, and who can work with our allies to solve the challenges we face, such as terrorism and global warming. It may not be important to you (or Senator McCain), but it’s important to a lot of people.

    Comment by smashartist | July 26, 2008 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: