WASHINGTON: Senator John McCain’s trip to Iraq last spring was a low-key affair: With his ordinary retinue of reporters following him abroad, the NBC News anchor Brian Williams reported on his arrival in Baghdad from New York, with just two sentences tacked onto the “in other political news” portion of hisÂ newscast.
But when Obama heads for Iraq and other locations overseas this summer, Williams is planning to catch up with him in person, as are the other two evening news anchors, Charles Gibson of ABC and Katie Couric of CBS, who, like Williams, are far along in discussions to interview Obama on successiveÂ nights.
And while the anchors are jockeying for interviews with Obama at stops along his route, the regulars on the Obama campaign plane will have new seat mates: star political reporters from the major newspapers and magazines who are flocking to catch Obama’s first overseas trip since becoming the presumptive nominee of hisÂ party.
The article goes on to talk about how the media’s coverage of Obama hasÂ been overwhelmingly favorable towards him for months, and quotes at least one mediot as blaming the excess coverage hisÂ overseas trip is going to receive on … Republicans:
“If this were John McCain’s first trip to the war zone, that would be a story and we would cover it big time,” said Paul Friedman, the senior vice president of CBS News. “This is Senator Obama’s first trip — his positions and the public’s perception of him on national security issues areÂ important.”
Friedman said McCain and the Republicans have helped make the visit a bigger story because they have repeatedly questioned Obrama’s credentials, keeping a running count of the number of days that have passed since Obama last visited Iraq, inÂ 2006.
Right.Â The MSM’s near-obsessive fascination with The Chosen One has nothing to do with it, I’m sure.Â The article also quoted a McCain spokeswomanÂ talking about the issue of the level of coverage the trip will receive:
But the coverage also feeds into concerns in McCain’s campaign, and among Republicans in general, that the media is imbalanced in their coverage of the candidates, just as aides to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton felt during the primaryÂ season.
“It is unproductive to spend it worrying about the way Obama is covered,” said Jill Hazelbaker, a spokeswoman for McCain. “That being said, it certainly hasn’t escaped us that the three network newscasts will originate from stops on Obama’s trip nextÂ week.”
In response, liberal mega-blogger Josh Marshall scribbles:
First McCain wanted Obama to go to Iraq; now he’s complaining that people care more about Obama’s trip than his dog-and-pony show last spring. I think the American people have to admit that they’re biased against John McCain.
Bullcrap.Â Can’t this guyÂ comprehend that it’s not about “more people caring” about Obama’s overseas trip than McCain’s but ratherÂ the fact that it’s not being done on the down low but rather pumped up not just by the Obama campaign but the mediots as well in a similar fashion that was seen during the days when Elvis was drafted to serve in the military?Â This isn’t supposed to be star-studded affair; at least two stops on his whirlwind trip are going to be in both Afghanistan and Iraq, two places that don’t need the over-hyped, sensationalistic coverage we usually get from the MSM as it relates to every move Barack Obama makes.
Ed Morrissey sums up:
So the news media can’t even claim novelty when explaining this effort.Â When was the last time we saw any network anchor doing a remote, let alone all three at the same time?Â Not even the Iraq War merited it after the first elections in 2004-5, and I don’t believe that involved all three anchors at any time.Â Afghanistan hasn’t merited it. This is nothing more than the media fawning over Obama, and looking to give him as much earned media as they can.Â Their pretense of objective reporting has been ripped away, and the media looks like little more than groupies vying for the attention of a pop star, hoping that some of his popularity rubs off on them.Â This should embarrass journalists, but instead they’re busy rationalizing their utter lack of self-respect.
So much for Obama’s self-proclaimed desire not to turn his trip overseas into a political stunt.Â All signs point to it being just that, courtesy, in part, of the intense media circus that will surround the trip.