Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Palin's CAK "visit" manipulates the media

I hated that we had to cover Sarah Palins' "visit" to the Akron area Monday. As I noted in a previous post, she was only visible for a few minutes and didn't interact with the public, nor did she speak.

Yet ... did you see the size of the color photo on the front of the ABJ's community section? It shows Palin, her husband, and a local Gold Star mother. It's the best video of the whopping 235 second event .. and the same shot the TV stations showed as well.

Best shot of the event? Sure. But it was also absolute, pure manipulation.

Story behind the story

What the viewers and readers didn't know is that Palin's staff passed out a list of the people who would be at the stairs of the plane to meet her. A local politician, a motivated young staffer, and a few other community folks were on the list .. but the media eyes were absolutely driven to see the name of Pvt. Heath Warner's mother, Mellisa, at the bottom of the list. Under her name was a few sentences about her son and a note that she was a Gold Star mother.

Palin worked the line with a few autographs, got to the end, and hugged this Gold Star mother for all the cameras.

Bingo! Instant press moment without having to do a thing.

My point is that it was all contrived for the cameras. If Palin -- the mother of an Iraq soldier herself -- was so compelled to meet Mellisa Warner, Palin could have invited Warner to ride along with her to the fundraiser. Or maybe invite her to fund raiser. Or a hundred other things. Her words and heart may have been genuine during her 1:00 with Mellisa Warner, but truth is, she could have done it privately.

Instead, Palin made sure the media was watching, interacted with her just long enough to make it look genuine, and then beat feet with a wave to the crowd.

If the media had seen her hug a stranger and then later we asked and were told it was a GS mother, that's one thing. But for Palin's folks to stage the entire event in front of us knowing it was the only video/picture worth reporting is pure manipulation.

For all it's worth .. President Bush has met with quite a few Gold Star mothers, including many here in the area, but rarely makes the meetings public for a photo op. If the families take photos, that's fine. But Bush -- to my knowledge -- never set it up ahead of time for the media to use.

But Monday .. that was "staged" news to play on the public's emotions .. and it was pure manipulation.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just adding fuel to my fire. :)

C

Anonymous said...

I hope this is the only time McCain's campaign is going to lose in a comparison with Bush 43.

It makes me mad that it is this kind of manipulation that wins elections.

Anonymous said...

I hope this gets out to as many ohioians as possible... this duo needs to be stopped. the ohioians i know will not stand for this kind of ridicule to our gold star moms. please continue to report these types of stories. i've heard several others that were about crowds they are gathering and found out though the media they too are all staged( saying 10,000 showed when only 1,300 were there). we need to fight back anonymous. just an ohio grandma...

Anonymous said...

Yep, those nasty old Republicans are the only ones who manipulte the news media. Democrats have never done such a thing.

Yep, those evil Republicans get up in the morning, and the first thing they do is plot to keep those less fortunate down. They call each other and plot their devilish deeds. They use secret passwords and silent hand signals out in the public to conspire against the helpless masses. Then they laugh behind their victims' backs.

They eat puppies for breakfast. Then they take all of their trash and throw it out their car windows on their way to their million dollar a week jobs. They purposely rev their engines to burn more fuel and to pollute our air.

At lunchtime, they take a gallon of mercury and dump it in the nearest waterway.

On their way home, they take their guns off their racks and shoot all the deer along the road. Just for fun.

Then at night, they pray to God that they can control, dominate and maniplate all the poor and sick of the world.

Yep, it's all part of the vast right wing conspiracy . . . And manipulating the media during an election is just one indication of what true evil they are determined to spread.

(rolls eyes)

Ed Esposito said...

So here's an election where none of the candidates have a real conversation with anyone; these so-called "interviews" with local media are nothing more than photo ops so we can say we interviewed the candidate...what questions are you asking in those 180 seconds they haven't answered or heard before, anyway? How is what McCain/Palin to different than what Obama/Biden do, really? Both jet from fundraiser to fundraiser, both have tightly scripted shows in front of supporters, both have incredibly stupid attack ads -- Obama attacks McCain for not being able to use a keyboard of email (never mind those war injuries) and McCain slaps Obama for daring to question Palin. Obama wants us to believe McCain is the embodiment of Bush who shows no real leadership and McCain wants us to believe Obama is the embodiment of the do-nothing Congress that shows no real leadership.

The sad fact is both are right, yet we in the media continue to facilitate the parade of whores that settles for political discourse. We argue over who's more manipulative when the rest of the American public is split down the middle because most people think both sides are full of it.

How about not perpetuating this continual soap opera? Skip the photo ops, skip the sound byte that doesn't really say anything. If it's the same old crap don't feed the beast, report something else than the same spin, the same speech, the same blah-blah.

We have ourselves to blame as much as the candidates because we settle for the sound byte and photo op masquerading as news; who's fault is that?

buck said...

Ed and the anonymous Republican...sure, both parties use the media but in Palin we have a candidate that is unknown and has things in her past that she and her own party are keeping from the public. That's the difference. Why is it that Palin has only done ONE tv interview? And we saw how well that went. Since then, the GOP is trying to do damage control and prevent future debacles by Palin, sending operatives to Alaska to handle any questions about Palin's past.

Even Obama has done O'Reilly. Obama and Biden have done 60 Minutes. When do you suppose we'll see the GOP combo do that? McCain's last high profile appearance was on The View. And Cindy McCain ended up blasting the show for their questioning. Obama's WIFE didn't criticize 60 Minutes for hammering him about his record.

The choice of Sarah Palin was a Karl Rove type strategic pick to counter the history making ticket on the Republican side. Plain and simple. This was to try and make the Republican ticket more competitive for Election Day ONLY and not for 8 years in the White House.

Eric Mansfield said...

All ...
I wanted to generate discussion here and we did just that.
My point was really focused on Monday's specific issue of Palin's camp saying "hey look she's going to hug a GS mother" so that we would see it .. while offering nothing else to the media.
Additionally .. the media bought in to it.
I would write the same blog had Obama or Biden done that.
Both sides are turning hypocritical and it's frustrating.
Still, regardless of whether or not a candidate makes themselves avaialble to the media, "staging" a photo op with a GS mother as your only interaction with the local media in a key swing state .. well, I find that hard to defend.
And I notice .. that while we might look at both sides for staging photo ops, no one is telling me I'm wrong about this one.
On that note .. I'm getting a one-on-one with Biden in Wooster today .. and I DO think I'll be able to ask him about a few issues directly related to the NE Ohio that are fresh. For starters, how his administration vow to help create jobs in Ohio can overcome Ohio's current higher education plan that makes it cheaper to go out-of-state to college than to stay here in Buckeye-ville.
Wish me luck.

Eric

Eric Mansfield said...

Oh . .and Ed, you and I are complete agreement .. that the media needs to make choices and skip some of this stuff .. instead of feeling the need to "feed the beast" every day when the food on the plate is stale.

And ... anon .. thanks for the eye roll ... well crafted my friend. Stay in touch .. Eric

Anonymous said...

Eric,
We miss you here in Tallmadge since you are not on channel 23! You can do all military families and Ohio voters a great service if you will make this "episode" more public. I cannot imagine this person being a heart-beat away from the presidency! The GOP has chosen a worse slate than Bush-Cheney, if such a thing is possible.

Ohio Media Watch said...

Well, maybe Gov. Palin or someone on the campaign staff is a reader of your blog, Eric...doing that quick lunch stop in downtown Cleveland today.

To both of our news pros here, Eric and Ed, agreed.

But you both know that media outlets won't "skip this stuff" when it involves a presidential or vice presidential candidate, especially one garnering as much attention as Gov. Palin has been getting since she was named to the ticket.

Well, on the radio side, since no-comment photo ops do you no good, you could skip it. :)

-OMW

Ed Esposito said...

Agreement? As the good inspector in Casablanca noted, I'm shocked!

See you at Kent State Thursday. Let's sit together so you can tell me to be quiet in the nick of time...

Anonymous said...

ED, GO KENT!!My granddaughter is a student. have a nice day!!!

Becky said...

Eric,
So much for your Non-Partisan coverage of the election. I guess ratings for good old NBC is all that matters. I have actually talke to constituents of the "chosen one" in Illinois (good liberal Democrats) who after his dismal performance there will not vote for Obama & Biden. I was taught in journalism class that to be a good reporter you didn't show bias, guess you slept through that class. I have to laugh as my sister is a 28 year employee of NBC and you sound just like her. Must be the company line.

Eric Mansfield said...

Becky,
Wow .. with those comments, I accept your challenge.
Show me -- show all of us -- a concrete example of "bias" in this blog posting.
As I've said, I would write the same posting if a Dem came down those steps and did the same hug-and-dash for the media.
Guess in journalism class these days, they show people the difference between blogging and reporting. Or didn't you learn that in "how to mock others without really having anything to back up points"?
So .. put your keyboard where your mouth is .. We're all waiting to see how well you can "talke" this issue.
Eric

Scott said...

Dear Eric, your information in not accurate. The opportunity to meet Gov. Paylin was offered to Melissa or myself. It was our decision and Melissa was very excited to have the opportunity to meet her. We have been exploited by the Democrats without out permission and at least the Republican's let it be our decision. The fact is it was Melissa's choice to meet Gov. Paylin. I am so sorry you took this direction you did. Maybe you should have talked to us first. Instead of our son's name being exploited without our consent or presenting the full facts for an event, we chose to be part of this event as we do support McCain and Paylin. Being a Gold Star family is not easy. When our son died, we were thrust into a military world we were not familiar with and became the center of media of attention. We have had to learn how to handle these situations as they come along. We have been confronted by people who are detached from the war and speak against the flag, our troops and our loss and have responded with dignity to these situations. Why is it hard to imagine that two military mothers had a connection. All I can say, as Melissa's husband, I am thrilled she had this opportunity, because my wife was happy and excited about this event. It was one of the few times since our son died that my wife was genuinely happy. With that being said I disagree with your observation.

Sincerely,

Scott Warner

Eric Mansfield said...

Scott,
Thanks for weighing on this . and more importantly, thanks for your family's sacrafice for our country.
Rather than respond here publicly, let's talk and maybe we can better understand each other's points.
My work # is 330-535-4105 .. or you can email me at ericmansfield@wkyc.com and give me a good contact # for you.
Eric