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Time Mag: Obama’s Rapid Response Weekly (Update: Grunwald Account Inaccurate)

John on August 14, 2008 at 10:28 am

In case you haven’t heard, McCain humorous ad titled “The One” was all a plot to identify Obama as the anti-Christ. That’s what Amy Sullivan was arguing in Time magazine a week ago. Over at Beliefnet, Brian McClaren, for one, is taking it seriously. CBS put up a post about the controversy yesterday.

Having succeeded in spreading this nonsense far and wide, Time is now back to defending Obama against McCain’s ads again. This time the target seems to be “Fan Club.” Here it is on You Tube if you’ve missed it.

Today, Time takes on this latest ad in the form of a piece titled “Why Can’t Candidates Be Celebrities?” by Michael Grunwald:

John McCain’s campaign has been working overtime to ridicule Barack Obama as The One, the rock-star celebrity with adoring fans, the politician with the chutzpah to announce his candidacy in a speech about Abraham Lincoln. So it was a bit surprising to watch the opening of McCain’s town hall meeting in York, Pa., on Tuesday.

Grunwald goes on to lay out his case that John McCain is a celebrity too, as if there is no discrepancy in media coverage of the two candidates. How many times has Obama been on Time’s cover lately?

In the middle of his piece, Grunwald makes a feint at leveling the electoral playing field:

This is silly enough when candidates are attacked for their wealth or supposedly elitist habits; it’s hard to see how John McCain’s multiple mansions or $500 shoes detract from his economic plans, and just about impossible to see how Barack Obama’s decision to vacation near his grandmother in Hawaii undercuts his claim to economic leadership.

But the fact that McCain and his ads are the real target of this piece is clear both from the intro (reproduced above) and from its closing. Speaking of McCain:

Wait: A remarkable life? Adoring fans? Clearly, he’s unfit to serve.

This is the journalistic equivalent of “I know you are but what am I?” It’s a response that’s curiously similar to the one Obama’s own campaign is following. Of course it’s just a coincidence that Time magazine has become the rapid response weekly for team Obama.

Related: The liberal press has devoted a lot of energy to divining the subtle racism in McCain’s ads. I wonder what they’d say about this.

Update: The setting for Grunwald’s piece is a town hall event in York, PA. Here’s how he describes it:

McCain began the town-hall meeting with an impassioned message about Georgia, urging the crowd to care about a “tiny little democracy, far, far away” that might seem irrelevant to their day-to-day lives. “History is often made in remote and obscure places,” McCain said. Even if you don’t share McCain’s bellicose ideas about Russia, there was something inspiring about his appeal to the conscience of the crowd, his insistence that the struggles of Georgians should be the concern of Americans. But the audience just listened quietly, offering only a few subdued golf-claps — until McCain mentioned Georgia’s oil pipeline, and called the conflict a new reminder that it’s time to do something about higher gas prices in America. Then the crowd erupted and gave McCain a standing ovation.

Subdued golf claps? Here’s video of the event with McCain offering his thoughts on Georgia. Note that the audience applauds not once but twice for his statement. The first one, where the audience interrupts him, doesn’t seem subdued to me:

YouTube Preview Image

It’s also worth noting that Grunwald seems to have simplified (or revised) McCain’s point about Georgia’s oil pipeline. He didn’t mention gas prices directly, he said that it was time to stop sending “$700 million overseas to countries that don’t like us very much.” It was a point about energy independence and self-reliance, not a pols promise of cheap gas as Grunwald perceived it. You can see it here for yourself, just scroll in about one minute.

All in all, Grunwald’s description of the event seems designed to support his argument about the selfishness of Americans. But you’d be wrong to assume it was an accurate reflection of what took place in York, PA.

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Category: MSM & Bias |

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