Welcome to Media’s “Obamathon”
“Good evening, everyone. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, is about to begin a major overseas tour designed to bolster his foreign policy and national security resume, and help him be seen as a credible Commander-in-Chief and potential leader of the free world.”
— Katie Couric kicking off the July 18 CBS Evening News.
Senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield: “He [Obama] doesn’t have to equal McCain in that stature, he just has to make voters seem like he’s okay, he knows what he’s talking about.”
Katie Couric: “Especially if he draws big crowds, right? That might help him as well.”
Greenfield: “I think the sight of an American politician being cheered in Europe at this stage would probably be welcomed by most Americans.”
— CBS Evening News, July 18.
“Tonight you’re going to be seeing the very first pictures of presidential candidate Barack Obama overseas with U.S. troops. Those are stills that you’re looking at behind me that we’ve been getting from this trip by this junior U.S. Senator, a trip that seems to be captivating the rest of the world as much, if not more so, than many in the United States...”
— CNN’s Rick Sanchez during a special half-hour broadcast of Newsroom at 11:30pm EDT, July 19.
“It has been an Obamathon ever since the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee touched down in Afghanistan. At today’s press conference in Amman, a throng of reporters recorded his every move. In total, 200 journalists requested seats on ‘Air Obama’ — 40 of them were accepted. The bill for the trip? About $20,000 each.”
— Katie Couric wrapping up the July 22 CBS Evening News from Amman, Jordan, as part of her network’s coverage of Obama’s trip.
Awesome Shot, Senator
“Now, before Afghanistan, Senator Obama stopped off in Kuwait to talk to the troops there. You remember all that grief Obama got for being a terrible bowler? Well, at a local gym someone handed him a basketball and he promptly sank a shot from way outside the paint. He made it look easy. You just have to pick the game.”
— Fill-in anchor Forrest Sawyer over video of Obama shooting hoops, July 19 CBS Evening News.
How Will You Cope With Our Bias?
“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?”
— CBS’s Harry Smith to Republican presidential candidate John McCain on The Early Show, July 21.
Shooting Themselves In the Foot?
“I think that we have inadvertently or otherwise put our thumb on the scale and there could be a big backlash against news organizations if this trend continues.”
— Washington Post media writer and CNN host Howard Kurtz suggesting the networks have spent too much time covering Obama, CNN’s Reliable Sources, July 20.
Please Don’t Mock Barack!
“The thing about this particular cartoon is that I think for the people who really already believe that Barack Obama is Muslim...this will maybe reinforce that fear. They — I don’t think they’ll see that as satire....So is The New Yorker at some point going to do a similar wild interpretation of the rumors about John McCain, or have him holding his wife as a trophy, stepping on his ex-wife?”
— CBS contributor Nancy Giles talking about The New Yorker’s cartoon about the Obamas, July 15 Early Show.
We Get It, But Dumb Public Won’t
“You know you can say, on a sophisticated level, that everybody gets the joke. But people who see that picture of him [Barack Obama] in the turban and his wife carrying an AK-47 and the big picture, a loving picture of Osama Bin Laden, an American flag burning in the fireplace — I’ll bet you any money that the right will be using that as T-shirt material within the next couple of weeks.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews talking about The New Yorker cartoon on Hardball, July 14.
Run, Al, Run!
“How can you, given the passion that you feel about this issue and the enormity of the dimensions that we’re dealing with here, turn down the idea that you could be in the administration as a Vice President or as an energy czar or as both?...There is no power like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for setting the agenda, for drawing attention to it, for moving the country, and for moving Congress. Mr. Vice President, no one knows that better than you do.”
— NBC’s Tom Brokaw to Al Gore, July 20 Meet the Press.
Hitting the Panic Button
“The economic vice tightens. Inflation soars as Americans sweat their bills....We wish we didn’t sound like a broken record, but once again tonight there is troubling economic news. Americans are getting it from all sides. From inflation...to the mortgage mess...and the banking crisis.”
— CBS’s Katie Couric opening the July 16 Evening News.
“Markets are gyrating, inflation is rising, banks are closing. Consumer pessimism is at an all-time high....How much trouble are we in? How long are we going to be in trouble? Is it grave?...My house is falling apart, the real estate mortgage companies may be in trouble, and now I hear about possible bank failures. And the stock market is tanking....Where do you put your money that you know it’s safe? Under the mattress?”
— ABC’s Charles Gibson talking to a panel of financial experts on World News, July 15.
Victims of Greedy Oil Companies
“According to a recent survey of Meals on Wheels programs around the country, 58 percent have lost volunteers due to rising gas prices....In one rural California case, according to the president of Meals on Wheels nationwide, cutting back from daily deliveries to one every 14 days proved fatal. Two seniors were found dead.”
— Reporter Kelly Wallace on CBS’s The Early Show, July 9.
Chris “Thrilled” by Pro-Obama Poll
“The NBC News political unit has some brand new battleground maps on the fight for the White House. Let’s check in with NBC News political director Chuck Todd. Chuck, dazzle us right now, will ya? Because I’m thrilled with this — Obama’s strength in the Northeast, the West Coast and the Great Lakes.”
— Host Chris Matthews discussing polls showing Obama leading McCain, on MSNBC’s Hardball, July 9.
Vote for Obama or You’re a Racist?
Katie Couric: “In the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, 55 percent of whites believe race relations are good, but only 29 percent of blacks feel that way....Jeff, in our recent poll, it showed that John McCain had a slim lead over Barack Obama when it came to favorable ratings among white voters. Is there any way to determine if race is playing a role in those numbers at all?”
CBS’s Jeff Greenfield: “I really don’t think so. White voters have tended to vote Republican for the last 44 years.”
— CBS Evening News, July 16.
NYT Submits Its List of Demands
“It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama’s piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq. It would also have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory — with troops levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate. And it would need to describe the Senator’s Afghanistan strategy, spelling out how it meshes with his Iraq plan.”
— New York Times op-ed editor David Shipley, a former Clinton speechwriter, on July 21 explaining why he rejected an Iraq op-ed from McCain after running a piece on July 14 from Obama about his Iraq plans.
Ginsburg No Liberal?
“[Supreme Court] nominations get in trouble when the President tries to use them to push beyond the boundaries of the existing political consensus. That was the Bork nomination problem. It was also the first Bush administration’s problem with the Clarence Thomas nomination — which of course succeeded, unlike the Bork nomination, but succeeded only barely and after a rough fight. By contrast, President Clinton played to the center, not the left, in selecting Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.”
— Retiring New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse in an online chat with readers, July 14.
“Sad” Over Jackson’s Vileness
“Let’s get to our top story this morning, that’s the Reverend Jesse Jackson. He has apologized for the firestorm he has created over comments directed against Barack Obama.... Honestly to me, as somebody who sat in an Operation Push meeting some 30-plus years ago in an old theater in Chicago, hearing this and seeing this, there’s something a little sad about it.”
— Harry Smith on CBS’s The Early Show, July 10, discussing Jackson’s comment about Obama that he would like to “cut his nuts off.”
How Big Oil Will Steal the Election
HDNet’s Dan Rather: “The price of oil has been high. The people who can affect the price of oil would prefer a Republican presidential candidate. Watch the price of oil. If it goes down, which it may very well, it could help John McCain quite a bit.”
Host Chris Matthews: “October surprise?”
Rather: “October, or before.”
— The ex-CBS Evening News anchor offering his prediction on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, July 20.
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brad Wilmouth, Scott Whitlock, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Justin McCarthy
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
INTERNS: Lyndsi Thomas, Peter Sasso