It's the Media, Stupid

The Big Three networks just foisted a week long Omabathon upon the American people, a political, “journalistic” perversion of Jerry Lewis’s annual televised good deed.  

Mr. Lewis raises money for a very worthy cause.  CBS’ Katie Couric, NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC’s Charlie Gibson attempted to raise the Presidential credibility of an inexperienced candidate by dutifully following Illinois Senator Barack Obama to the Middle East and Europe for six days and five nights of wall-to-wall slavish and adoring reporting.

This was an unprecedented media extravaganza.  Never before have all three evening news anchors been drawn out of their chairs and all over the world together and on behalf of a candidate.  Their coverage of Sen. Obama was as glitteringly positive as it was all-encompassing: the primary season without the Clinton distraction.

By week’s end, the voters back here Stateside could well have forgotten that Senator Obama has an opponent.   

The media certainly did.  And throughout the week they repeatedly reminded us that their Obama infatuation has caused them to become totally disconnected from reality.

On Monday morning, a befuddled CBS Early Show’s Harry Smith asked Sen. McCain “You know, when you have the network anchors chasing your opponent across the Middle East, it’s a little hard to make news.  What is your strategy to get folks to pay attention to your message over the next couple of days?”

Wednesday night, ABC’s World News reporter David Wright actually chastised the Arizona Senator.  “You’ve been touring here in the states, had the domestic stage all to yourself. And yet, we’re talking an awful lot about foreign policy. It seems like the narrative of this campaign is being driven by whatever Senator Obama does and that you’re left to kind of react to that.”

Translation: “We’re not going to be covering you, Sen. McCain, how are you going to deal with it?”  How is this the Senator’s fault?  How is it his responsibility to make the media behave responsibly?  This line of questioning is delusional, like Mohammed Ali going in-depth asking Sonny Liston why his face is bruised and bleeding while Ali is still wearing the gloves he used to pummel him.  

Sen. McCain "had the domestic stage all to (him)self" last week because the entire media universe had left the country to provide full-service adjunct PR work for Sen. Obama, and thereby ensure that “the narrative of this campaign is being driven by whatever Senator Obama does.”  

But of course it is not Obama doing the driving; he is but a pampered passenger along for the ride.  It is the press, as always, at the helm.  It’s their vehicle, they have the keys and they steer it towards whatever story destination they wish.  

And they do not have Sen. McCain anywhere on their map.  As but one example of the Senator’s being smack dab in the middle of media Nowhere: According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the gaggle awaiting Sen. McCain’s landing in the Granite State for several campaign stops over the weekend preceding the Omabathon consisted of a single still photographer.

“Honey,” the Senator might be saying, “we’re lost.”  Obama’s Paparazzi certainly aren’t looking.