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Media Overdoing Coverage of Obama Trip

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I’m not a believer in the “liberal media” myth. Sure, liberalism influences the reporting of some journalists in some situations but political attitudes are far less important than modern journalism’s predilection to sensationalize the commonplace and create conflict in the mundane.

So, if blatant liberal bias is not as pervasive in the media as some critics believe, why are all three major network anchors following Barack Obama on his foreign tour? I’m hardly the first to comment on this overeager media love, but I think the question is worth addressing.

Make no mistake, Obama’s trip is newsworthy. But sending the lead anchor is a move the networks usually reserve for the most important world events – say, a sitting president’s first overseas excursion. Having the anchors trail a mere candidate on what is primarily a photo-op trip is just bizarre. John McCain couldn’t get the network anchors to follow him if he journeyed to the moon.

And, yes, this is pretty much a photo-op trip, although Obama is meeting with foreign leaders. Noam Scheiber of The New Republic has it right when he points out Obama’s trip is being stage-managed to the extreme. As Scheiber says, the most honest description of how these trips work actually came from Obama himself while dismissing Hillary Clinton’s globetrotting. Obama said:

“You get picked up at the airport by a state convoy and a security detail. They drive you over to the ambassador’s house and you get lunch. Then you go take a tour of some factory or some school. Children do a native dance.”

Obama will surely get something out of this trip, but it hardly qualifies as a national event worthy of network anchors trailing breathlessly behind. I always thought the media was McCain’s base. I guess not.