Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The bored national media

DID YOU get a glimpse  of the heartwarming detente between Barack and Hillary when the president-elect announced his national security team?  It was pure family.  And, predictably, the reporters in the room were suspicious that they were witnessing stagecraft rather than statecraft.  They immediately asked Obama whether this was a moment of hallucination after all of the awful things the  two former rivals had said of each other during the campaign.  Obviously prepared for the media's negative spin, Obama smiled broadly  and responded:  "You're having fun" - which he found quite acceptable to relieve their dreary life after a presidential campaign .  It's the sort of downer that you sense on a gray day or two after Christmas when the bright holiday trimmings at the mall suddenly vanish as the stores prepare for Valentine's Day. 

Actually, the reporters weren't quite having fun. They were bored and uneasy.   After exhausting millions of questions and sharing speculative guesses on Meet the Press and National Press Club lunch breaks,  the media players must now find a a way to renew public interest in their work now that there are no polls telling us who was ahead in Montana. Not even Sarah Palin's vicarious wardrobe is of much of public interest these days.  

Speaking from experience, to break the monotony of  post-election blues,   political  reporters seek out each other  for clues to their next career challenges. It is generally agreed that not everyone at the news conference should ask the same question about Hillary.  The president quickly senses a trend and calls on a reporter who has the look of Hillary boredom and wants to ask about First Dog.  

The media's days on the campaign trails are so consuming it could take weeks for news of a great aunt's death to reach a reporter at a pueblo in Arizona where he or she is gauging the electoral power of  indigenous Indian chiefs.    

So now, during the interregnum between Dubya (50 days left and I'm not the only one who's counting) and Barack, the national media can do nothing more than  pretend that the intensity of the campaign has never waned and that Barack can call it "fun" but the "Hillary thing" will have to do until something more exciting comes along.  Maybe it will be a substitute for  all of the juicy campaign reports  that armies of Hillary supporters   would churlishly abandon Obama and vote for McCain.  Let's  hope not.  It would  a be a terrible reminder that in combatting boredom and empty hours you can go too far and be downright silly.      


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Could it be that an articulate leader who surges forward decisively in assembling a team of experienced and thoughtful people fills a void into which the news media has been stuffing personality and innuendo and scandal? Obama is making real news with every appointment, and some reporters realize it.