Friday, April 25, 2008

Circus Maximus

"Media Jumps Ship From Obama" is the gigantic headline this morning on one of my favorite Political Blogs: The Huffington Post. While becoming much more like "The Sun" newspaper in the UK (lots of tawdry pictures of young actresses. But no page 3 girls. Yet.). Anyway, I digress. After the butt-whooping Obama received from Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, the media, who once had anointed Barack Obama as a cross-between Jackie Robinson, and JFK, have started to run away from the Illinois Senator as if he was infectious.

Yes, he did lose big in Pennsylvania. Yes, it was a drop-the-trousers heinie spanking by 10% points for the front-runner. It seems to be a pattern with this campaign that just about the time it seems Obama is going to close this out, Mrs. Clinton comes along and says "Not just yet". But the media has taken this as a queue that Obama is a loser. He's George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Fritz Mondale, etc. etc. etc. He can't win the big one. He can't close the deal. As someone once said: "Yadda Yadda Yadda".

Ok, my question is so what? This is after all a political campaign, and there are many states (almost 10) who have not voted yet. It seems reasonable to me that people should be allowed to vote and choose their candidate. I'm one of the few who think we should have a one day national primary (with run-offs if no clear majority wins) where everyone picks their favorite candidate. It will never happen because of the money involved. No candidate will raise enough funds for one shot.

But, back to the media. What an enormous pile of wasted space this "4th estate" has become. The cable news channels (CNN, MSNBC, FOX) as well as the networks have turned this into one giant, seemingly never ending circus where they beat the same old horses to death. Want proof? The last Democratic debate moderated by ABC, where the usually solid Charlie Gibson and George Stephanoupolus asked questions like "Senator Obama, Do you think Reverend Wright loves the United States as much as you do?" Aw, come on George. You are better than that aren't you? Wouldn't we be better served by asking questions about say, How would you get us out of Iraq? Or, how would you deal with the current fuel and food issues facing us today? Or perhaps, What's your plan on Healthcare? Instead, they ask questions about a preacher, ask questions about a lapel pin (a freaking lapel pin for God's sake!) and why Obama won't wear one.

Of course, they have a right to ask these questions. If this is what the American People are that concerned about and have written thousands of letters telling the media this is what they want to know, then fine. I don't think it is however. I think it's the media continuing to stir the pot so the talking heads continually have something to talk about. One of the cable news networks I regularly watch is MNSBC. I enjoy Chris Matthews, Keith Olberman, Dan Abrams shows a lot. However, they have (as many of the others) reduced this down to "can Obama reach the common man?" "Is he too elitist to win?" "Will pastor Wright's comments cost Obama the white blue-collar vote?" And on and on and on.

I don't think most of us give a rat's behind about those topics, but with 24 hour news channels bleating away with this refuse all the time, it's hard not to start thinking about it.

I believe most of us are concerned about the economy, health care, this never ending cycle of violence we seem to have initiated in Iraq. What do you think?


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