I’ve been watching the MSM, and particularly, The Times, all week since Hillary got into the presidential race. Please tell me if I missed something. From my perch, what I’ve mostly seen is a steady visual stream (concomitant with the drip, drip, drip of inevitability) of Hillary, then Obama, then Hillary and Obama, then Obama, Obama, Obama, then more Hillary and Obama, then Hillary, Obama, Hillary and Hillary.
Not one person has cast one vote yet. At least until then, what’s exactly wrong with a balanced helping of Richardson, Vilsack, Edwards, Kucinich, Dodd, Biden and the rest? (If the media — desperate for magnetism — could help a contemptuous Cheney sex up a clear lie about Iraq for years on end, I’m sure they could make anybody look worthy of attention at this point.)
And along the way, how about more editorial even-handedness (yes, yes, I know I’m in subjective territory now) so that the lesser second-tier all the candidates at least looked viable? (You saw those grim shots of Dodd and Kucinich, out of the one each allocated, that YahooNews posted following the State of the Union.)
In that light, consider the photo above.
In the one instance this week (as far as I’m aware) in which the NYT visually fronted a candidate (other than you know who and whom) on their “on-line first page,” they made Edward contend with the glare and the shadows, wearing an expression perhaps just a little too emphatic, as if he’s either just a bit “out there,” or else he already pressing for face time considering of his casting in the media’s January ’07 release of “Hillary Barack and The Seven (Or So) Dwarfs.”
I’ve also been wondering, by the way, just how much we’re going to hear from our candidates this year about media reform. For some reason, the Free Press National Media Reform Conference, recently held in Memphis, just didn’t get much attention from the MSM. In accordance, perhaps progressives should be taking a good look at Rep. Representative Maurice Hinchey’s Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA — HR 3302). I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s a start at addressing the severe inequality of “the filter.”
After all, if each one of us did an experiment, asking the next five people on the street: “Who owns the media airwaves?”, I wonder how many would answer: “I do!”
(Edited 1/29/06 for temperature reduction.)
(Matthew Holst for The New York Times. January 2006 2007. Iowa. nytimes.com)