October 1, 2007
Only Safe Havens (Bob Franken)
@ 10:25 am
Let’s see: Most Republican presidential candidates avoid appearances before people of color. Democrats balk at Fox News. That’s about the only place Fred Thompson will allow himself to be interviewed.
Meanwhile, major media executives willingly portray their outlets as voices of conservatives or liberals, or at least allow themselves to be portrayed as such. They may not admit that, but that’s exactly what they do.
The political campaign has become little more than preaching to the choir, as the candidates go out of their way to avoid the inconvenient, skeptical questions that might derail their smooth ride over the message-of-the-day.
Hillary tries to look like she answers the questions, but all she does is deflect … either by reciting the latest canned, poll-tested response, or now with that God-awful cackle.
Fred Thompson? He simply avoids the unfriendly question. Actually, he avoids just about all questions, by just avoiding all campaigning.
What do we have, then? Is the race really just a marketing competition? You bet. This is nothing new, of course. Joe McGinniss’s “Selling of the President” bemoaned how the Richard Nixon campaign was “packaged” by an advertising team that included, by the way, PR man Roger Ailes.
But that was paltry compared to the high-tech micro-focused campaign of today, where the entire purpose seems to be to sell rather than inform.
Frankly, the voters will have little idea who to support or what to support. All that will be obliterated, which is probably just as well since the media have forsaken their role as national skeptics in the frenzy to stay ahead of the competition, competing technology and the last quarterly profits report.
Ailes, of course, has taken his public relations brilliance to the news biz and has so rattled the competition that journalism coverage is now overwhelmed by marketing.
Where does that leave the voters? What voters?