Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

Boston Globe: Convention Press Coverage is HORRIBLE

Last night’s best speech may not have been HRC’s, but Brian Schweitzer’s rousing call to action over the issue of energy and the slamming of John McCain. But almost no one covered the speech except for PBS and C-SPAN. That, in a nutshell, captures the truly mind-numbing horrible-ness of the press coverage of this convention. And the Boston Globe noticed too:

THE BEST way to watch a political convention is on C-Span. That way Americans can make their own judgments unfiltered, without being told what to think by the nattering nabobs of TV commentary.

Indeed. These “nattering nabobs” only cover the speeches that they see as “marqueee” or which fit into their “narratives,” doing an enormous disservice to the American people.

Case-in-point, the mildly delivered, but substantively important speech of Iowa GOP Congressman Jim Leach:

Had the commentators not been so busy filling airspace and paid closer attention to what was happening on the podium, they might have had a different take. On Monday a speech by former Representative Jim Leach, an Iowa Republican, ably set the framework for his own party’s failings, besides delivering a bipartisan endorsement of Barack Obama. His address wasn’t electrifying TV, but it was a more articulate critique of the Republicans – and from a former loyalist, too – than many Democrats have mustered.

Substance over flash. Clearly an anathema to the news teams covering these conventions like it’s a soap opera and that the fricking future of the world doesn’t depend on it.

And then there’s that issue of the “narratives:”

The latest “narrative” making its way around the Democratic convention here is that the Obama campaign hasn’t learned the lesson of John Kerry’s 2004 convention, in which the nominee failed to directly attack President Bush. CNN commentator Soledad O’Brien even asked late Monday night whether Michelle Obama’s introductory speech shouldn’t have been tougher on the Republicans.

Of course, if the early days of the convention had presented a more negative tone, the talking heads would be complaining that the Democrats can only say what they are against, not what they are for.

Absolutely right on every level. Even last night, when the gloves did finally start to come off with some real zingers, the talking heads kept on going on about the lack of “attack” from Obama. Now, you all know I’ve more than criticized the Obama camp on this issue before, but I was feeling pretty good last night…until I listened to the pundits.

I’ll say this now:

Holy hell is the news media of this country god-smackingly, gut-wrenchingly, stomach-churningly, vomit-inducingly awful.

By shoe-horning the convention into pre-conceived narratives and focusing on the horse-race over the substance of the ACTUAL SPEECHES HAPPENING BEHIND THEM, the news media of this country has done Americans an enormous disservice.

I’m not sure if it’s ever fallen as low as it has now.


August 27, 2008 - Posted by | Media Strategy, Uncategorized | ,


  1. what do you guys think of this dkos diary saying that the majority of voters think Obama is more likely to raise their taxes?

    This diary scared me. I think this issue has to be addressed.

    Comment by ksh01 | August 27, 2008 | Reply

  2. Obama has said he’s going to talk about it tomorrow night.

    Comment by dansac | August 27, 2008 | Reply

  3. The press that is covering the Demo Convention are awful, rude, nutcases. Why do they keep insisting on fighting and arguing that the “Demo party is not united”? They are all crazy and in the bag for McSurge/POW and company, with the exception of a few like: Keith O., Cafferty, maybe Matthews and a few more. But CSPAN is the best.

    Comment by trellskig | August 27, 2008 | Reply

  4. I am always startled that we as viewers of the cable channels view the so-called “news” shows as authentic purveyors of the “news”. The shows of the genre Hardball, Morning Joe, Race to the White House, O’reilly Factor, the Campbell Brown thing, Larry King, Countdown, Verdict, Situation Room, et al are entertainment shows put on by the cable “networks” for the express purpose of promoting their stars …the talent. The channels would much prefer to have shows that are no deeper, news wise, than the depth of most of the inane hosts involved. If they can get multiple hosts on the set at the same time, generate a little manufactured friction, all the better. So, don’t get bound-up in your BVDs. It ain’t news. It’s show biz.

    Comment by TheRef | August 27, 2008 | Reply

  5. thanks, dansac….makes me feel a little better. I think the tax narrative, more than the celebrity shit, is what could be hurting Obama.

    I really want Barack to come out and say “McCain is lying about my tax policy. I will not raise taxes on middle class and lower income Americans.”

    Comment by ksh01 | August 27, 2008 | Reply

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