Susan Estrich on the love affair between Obama and the press

Susan Estrich ran the Dukakis campaign in 1988 and knows a thing or two about the press and politics.

In an article at RealClearPolitics, Estrich gives the real explanation for the media's love affair with Obama:

I certainly understand exactly why it is happening. Right now, Obama is bigger than any rock star. Right now, every reporter wants to be close to him, on his good side, at the front of the bus, or at least the front of the line for an interview. They are reporting what they are getting, which in many cases means what they are given, not exactly reporting by any definition. But who's to complain? No one wants to offend a guy who just might be President. No one wants to be on the "bad" list, the list of the last to know, of people who don't get the invites or the leaks or the tidbits that their editors and bosses back home are reading in somebody else's blog or watching on someone else's broadcast.

No one, or almost no one, attacks the press for tossing softballs. Oh, John McCain can complain about the coverage, but complaining makes him look smaller, not bigger; he gets attacked for whining, which may be one reason he has backed off from any such complaints and is now going out of his way to say that he is not making an issue of the press love-in with Obama. Andrea Mitchell made the point that the press is running video and pictures they are being given with no idea of what's been edited in or out, but that certainly hasn't stopped her own network from doing so. Katie Couric, in the nicest possible way (the old, "not that I'm criticizing you but people are scratching their heads trying to understand approach") tried to pin Obama down on whether he now sees the surge as a success, whether he would still be against it if he knew then what he does now (sort of like, Hillary -- was your vote for the war a mistake?), and what are people saying all over the Internet? Bad Katie. How dare she do that? How dare she push that way? How dare she do her job? Next thing you know, CBS will be joining FOX News on the "no interview" list.


In short, if the press writes something bad about Obama or worse - makes him look bad on TV - they get frozen out of all the little goodies that go along with tagging along for the ride. This does not reflect well on the work ethic of the press because almost anything from a campaign can be found out if you're willing to work hard and develop sources. Ostensibily, this is the way a campaign should be covered. Not the press reporting what they're told to report or forced into reporting.

Estrich believes that what the press builds up they then destroy at a later date. That may be true for most politicians. But Obama?

I will believe it when I see it.

Susan Estrich ran the Dukakis campaign in 1988 and knows a thing or two about the press and politics.

In an article at RealClearPolitics, Estrich gives the real explanation for the media's love affair with Obama:

I certainly understand exactly why it is happening. Right now, Obama is bigger than any rock star. Right now, every reporter wants to be close to him, on his good side, at the front of the bus, or at least the front of the line for an interview. They are reporting what they are getting, which in many cases means what they are given, not exactly reporting by any definition. But who's to complain? No one wants to offend a guy who just might be President. No one wants to be on the "bad" list, the list of the last to know, of people who don't get the invites or the leaks or the tidbits that their editors and bosses back home are reading in somebody else's blog or watching on someone else's broadcast.

No one, or almost no one, attacks the press for tossing softballs. Oh, John McCain can complain about the coverage, but complaining makes him look smaller, not bigger; he gets attacked for whining, which may be one reason he has backed off from any such complaints and is now going out of his way to say that he is not making an issue of the press love-in with Obama. Andrea Mitchell made the point that the press is running video and pictures they are being given with no idea of what's been edited in or out, but that certainly hasn't stopped her own network from doing so. Katie Couric, in the nicest possible way (the old, "not that I'm criticizing you but people are scratching their heads trying to understand approach") tried to pin Obama down on whether he now sees the surge as a success, whether he would still be against it if he knew then what he does now (sort of like, Hillary -- was your vote for the war a mistake?), and what are people saying all over the Internet? Bad Katie. How dare she do that? How dare she push that way? How dare she do her job? Next thing you know, CBS will be joining FOX News on the "no interview" list.


In short, if the press writes something bad about Obama or worse - makes him look bad on TV - they get frozen out of all the little goodies that go along with tagging along for the ride. This does not reflect well on the work ethic of the press because almost anything from a campaign can be found out if you're willing to work hard and develop sources. Ostensibily, this is the way a campaign should be covered. Not the press reporting what they're told to report or forced into reporting.

Estrich believes that what the press builds up they then destroy at a later date. That may be true for most politicians. But Obama?

I will believe it when I see it.