What's Howard Kurtz's point about Obama coverage?November 17, 2008 10:11 AM EST ››› ERIC BOEHLERT
In the WaPo he's got a big piece today about how the press has gone overboard covering the Obama victory. Kurtz seems unnerved by the excitement that the win has caused and suggests journalism guidelines have been violated in the process.
His examples though, seem pretty thin. For instance, Kurtz points some opinion writers who used too many "eye-popping superlatives" to describe the Obama win. But a) They're opinion writers. And b) They backed Obama, so their excitement and lofty rhetoric shouldn't surprise anyone.
Kurtz also seems gravely concerned by these instances of Obama coverage:
"The Obamas' New Life!" blares People's cover, with a shot of the family. "New home, new friends, new puppy!" Us Weekly goes with a Barack quote: "I Think I'm a Pretty Cool Dad." The Chicago Tribune trumpets that Michelle "is poised to be the new Oprah and the next Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis -- combined!" for the fashion world.
There's absolutely nothing wrong, or even exceptional, with any of those examples. The Obamas have clearly crossed over into the world of pop culture and the media reflect that. So what.
In terms of actual news reporting, Kurtz can't, or doesn't, cite any example of the press pulling its punches for Obama. On that key front, all Kurtz can do is speculate.
But what happens when adulation gives way to the messy, incremental process of governing? When Obama has to confront a deep-rooted financial crisis, two wars and a political system whose default setting is gridlock? When he makes decisions that inevitably disappoint some of his boosters?
Howie, when you find example of the press actually doing something wrong, of not doing its job, or becoming lapdogs for the new Obama administration, be sure to let us know.