13 May 2007

Campaigning for President and Fairness in the Media

After a day or two of relative calm, it's time to grind my ax a little bit on the topic of political bias and the media.

Following the story on the blogosphere of the Giuliani campaign and the VonSprecken family farm in Iowa, I've indeed been interested in whether the mainstream media would pick it up or not. It seems fair to raise questions about media furor and political spin in light of, say, the John Edwards haircut hullabaloo. It raises eyebrows when you hear a story like this in which the average American voter gets slighted because of political or PR decisions, and then the whole thing doesn't blow up. Especially when you get another candidate swooping in, as McCain has, to make the most of the whole issue in what strikes me as the most omnivorous and opportunistic--not to mention shallow--way.

I lose interest, however, in the blogospheric "what if?" game that goes like this:

Again: Just try to imagine the hailstorm of media attention that would be raining down on the VonSprecken's farm right now if John Edwards' campaign had done this.

That's Greg Sargent at Talking Point Memo's Election Central. I really like TPM and all its spinoffs, and I think the writing there is some of the most adept anywhere online. You can only kick this fairness in the media horse so many times, though, before it sounds like an ineffective whine. And that's where Democrats, liberals and the like often get kicked back the hardest. We whine a good game but come up short when it comes to fighting back. I'd like to see TPM keep pushing this story, drawing attention to who's got it and who's ignoring it, but I could sure do without the run-of-the-mill rhetoric that boils down to one kid hollering at the other that something's not fair.