Monday, November 17, 2008


In The Washington Post, Howard Kurtz wrings his hands about what he calls a "giddy sense of boosterism" in the media's post-election Obama coverage ... without ever mentioning the name Sarah Palin once.

Sure, there's some giddy coverage of Obama, and there are some ancillary products that seem far from objective:

Perhaps it was the announcement that NBC News is coming out with a DVD titled "Yes We Can: The Barack Obama Story." Or that ABC and USA Today are rushing out a book on the election. Or that HBO has snapped up a documentary on Obama's campaign.

Perhaps it was the Newsweek commemorative issue -- "Obama's American Dream" -- filled with so many iconic images and such stirring prose that it could have been campaign literature. Or the Time cover depicting Obama as FDR, complete with jaunty cigarette holder....

And the answer to the following question is more or less what Kurtz thinks it is:

But can anyone imagine this kind of media frenzy if John McCain had managed to win?

No, no one can imagine John McCain being feted this way -- but it's quite easy to imagine Sarah Palin getting this treatment if McCain and Palin had managed to win.

Some politicians manage to attain rock-star status and some don't; McCain wasn't about to regain star status this year -- but Palin attained it, and that's why, even as all the media is generating all this Obama coverage that has Kurtz wringing his hands, cash-strapped news organizations are sending superstar anchors and full video crews to Alaska to interview her.

Media outlets are cranking out Obama product because they can go to Amazon and see that seven of the top 100 bestsellers are by or about Obama (not to mention two editions of Doris Kearns Goodwin's years-old Team of Rivals, which Obama has recently invoked, and one Dick Morris book that name-checks Obama); oh, Obama also has the top three nonfiction paperbacks on the New York Times list. Media superstars are seeking out Palin because she gets good ratings. In tough economic times, you're going to pass up the chance for increased revenue?

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