Monday, July 14, 2008

What the Obama Camp Should Have Said...

"About what cover? Oh, this cartoon? It's just a dumb cartoon."

There are jokes attempting to tap into the political zeitgeist that fizzle, and then there's "tasteless and offensive." The New Yorker cover is the former. Decrying it by placing it in the latter category does nothing to the cartoon or its publisher (except maybe boost clicks and sales). However, it does put the protester in the camp of those who believe grievous harm can be done to icons and their followers via arguably comic illustrations. I thought Obama's campaign was trying to avoid association with that lot.

Anyone remember this remark at the AIPAC:

"I want to say that I know some provocative e-mails have been circulating throughout Jewish communities across the country. They're filled with tall tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for president. And all I want to say is — let me know if you see this guy named Barack Obama, because he sounds pretty scary."

The set up and punchline were a little stilted in delivery, perhaps excused since various right wing anti-Obama smears may have set up AIPAC as the proverbial "tough crowd." Still I think this approach, a slightly more flippant version of the "I have no response to that" Obama initially gave the cover was a workable belittling of the "fear and ignorance" movement online against Obama's campaign.

As for the press corps who opened up this debate, specifically CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic who initially requested comment from Obama, some advice. Learn from Gibson and Stephanopoulos. The "market" you're trying to reach is tired of this bullshit and has been migrating elsewhere for other news. Rather than wasting your access to the candidates on sophomore questions based off the print and mass circulated equivalent of crude bathroom drawings, maybe actually read a magazine like the New Yorker if you're unable to come up with questions on your own. I think seeking Obama's (and McCain's) reaction to, say, Seymour Hersh's article "Prepping the Battlefield" regarding alleged covert operations underway in Iran would provide the substantive information the voting public wants. If you can't do that, move over and give some competent journalists a shot at this beat.

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