Does Obama Get More Media Than McCain?
DANIEL SCHORR: I've been reflecting for the past week on what compelled the McCain camp to air a peculiar TV commercial associating Senator Barack Obama with two hardly political celebrities - Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
That's NPR senior news analyst, Daniel Schorr.
SCHORR: My conclusion was that the act reflected burning resentment at Obama's greater success with the news medium. The McCain people view his success as more a cultivation of celebrityhood than any real merit. There's no doubt that Obama has done better than McCain at numbers of words and pictures. In the past three years, Obama has been featured on the covers of Time and Newsweek 12 times to McCain's five.
American University instructor Richard Benedetto has counted candidate photos that appeared in the Washington Post between June 4th and July 14th. He found 78 McCain pictures to 122 Obama pictures. This may not be famous for being famous as in the case of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and no candidate is called a rock star which would be the ultimate in fame. But for many a McCain supporters that lopsided attention to the opponent causes them to raise the issue of fairness, all the news media obligated to preserve some balance in a tightly fought race for the greatest position in the land.
It is not a question which the same people raise about conservative talk shows, but never mind. There used to be a legislated fairness doctrine meant to insure political balance on the airwaves. That was abolished by the Federal Communications Commission in 1985 in the interest of journalistic freedom.
And so, as President Kennedy said about life, don't look for fairness in political campaigns. And if the McCain people chose to liken Senator Obama to a rock star like those two sexy women, well, no use yelling unfair.
This is Daniel Schorr.