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October 16, 2007

Credit Where It's Due

Was going back-and-forth with a friend over the increasing numbers of campaign staffers saying -- often rightfully -- that their candidate isn't getting a fair shake. And yet you never hear any staffers lauding the press's favorable treatment of their boss.

The media's treated in rather the opposite way that God is in sports. A player, at the end of a successful game, will turn to the camera, lift his eyes, and thanks the heavenly father for helping his team put more balls in baskets than their opponents were able to manage. You'll never hear his opponents turn and say, "well, I guess Jesus really had it in for us today."

Conversely, no winning candidate mounts the stage on election night and says, "I'd like to thank the media, whose affection for my candidacy proved so crucial in turning public opinion against my opponent." But they should!

On a slightly more informative note, David Plotz has an interesting article on how and why evangelical ministers target athletes.

October 16, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

"And yet you never hear any staffers lauding the press's favorable treatment of their boss."

And you never hear Coach K say the refs gave his team every call, but it happens all the time.

Posted by: SteveH | Oct 16, 2007 4:36:39 PM

"I'd like to thank the media, whose affection for my candidacy proved so crucial in turning public opinion against my opponent." But they should!

Actually it would be a bad idea from the point of view of that candidate and her fellow partisans.

A large part of the media's help in promoting certain candidates is because the media so desparately wants to be seen as non-partisan, balanced, objective, etc.

If a winning candidate of Party X says "thank you media" when the media has a reputation for supporting Party Y ... then that undermines Party X's careful working of the refs to ensure that the media is so afraid (often sub-consciously) of being seen as partial to Party Y that they make sure (sub-consciously, sometimes) to give more favorable coverage to Party X.

OTOH, if a member of Party Y thanks the media for helping her win, then it just re-enforces the general notion that the media is biased in favor of Party Y ("they even admit it!"), making matters worse for Party Y in the first place.

With primaries, of course, the situation is a bit more complicated ...

Posted by: DAS | Oct 16, 2007 4:39:43 PM

Whether its coaches who appreciate calls by the ref (close or not), armies aligned up against each other with the priests on both sides involking the god that is on 'their side', or politicians who refrain from praising media (or attacking damaging media), the whole thing is wrong in the moral sense.

Refs, priests, and the media shouldn't be playing favorites, whether out of personal beliefs or because they stand to gain something. That's where the focus should be. When they tilt the game, they should be pilloried and fired.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Oct 16, 2007 4:52:51 PM

In John Feinstein's "Next Man Up" (a great airplane read), you spend a fair bit of time with the Ravens' team chaplain. I think the theology is a little better than most people give credit for.

Posted by: Klug | Oct 16, 2007 4:55:40 PM

SteveH, not to get into a big thing about Duke basketball, but Coach K is a bad example because he also never claims the refs didn't give him any calls. His post-game press conferences invariably make no mention of the quality of the officiating. "How can he complain?" you may ask. Maybe, but in my experience as a fan, a right to complain has never been a prerequisite for an athlete or coach to do so.

Just sayin'. He's more like a politician who neither praises nor criticizes the media. There aren't very many of those; even St. McCain has trotted the media out to be red meat.

Posted by: jhupp | Oct 16, 2007 5:15:30 PM

And speaking of working the refs:

"Hillary's Rove" Comes Through for Blackwater

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/hillarys-rove-comes-th_b_68688.html

"Have we just had a taste of how influence might be wielded under a Clinton II Administration? In a very successful week for its most notorious client, Mark Penn's firm was able to get Blackwater CEO Erik Prince several major television appearances...Democrats have waited years for a consultant that can play the media as well as the GOP can. Unfortunately, most of them had hoped it would be a better cause....As for the Clinton campaign, they're letting this issue fester rather than attacking it head-on. That should give her supporters - and other Democrats - pause. Will the Senator respond to this issue, or is this PR blitz the shape of things to come?" - RJ Eskow

And just what you'd expect...here's what a Hill & Bill fan had to say:

OK now that we have the innuendo and aspersions and the obvious bias, please elaborate on Penn's PRECISE role in Hillary's campaign. - SensibleAmerican

To which RJ REPLIES:

ABC News calls him "Hillary Clinton's senior campaign strategist." Simple Googling would answer this question...Why is every legitimate observation about this candidate called "bias" and "innuendo"? Her supporters should, instead, either say "this is what she does and I'm OK with it" or "I support her but I wish she would change this aspect of her campaign."..There's is nothing here that is not verifiable. Rather than adopting the Rovian tactic of attacking the messenger, Clinton supporters (I'm neither supporting nor opposing any candidate) should address the message.

You got to hand it to Hill & Bill's fans...they know how to work the refs...like Kool-Aid drinking DittoHeads.

Posted by: S Brennan | Oct 16, 2007 5:19:10 PM

On a slightly more informative note, David Plotz has an interesting article on how and why evangelical ministers target athletes.

A whole lot of words could have been saved if that article had simply stated, "For the exact same reason Scientology targets movie stars."

Posted by: George Tenet Fangirl | Oct 16, 2007 8:25:55 PM

"SteveH, not to get into a big thing about Duke basketball, but Coach K is a bad example because he also never claims the refs didn't give him any calls."

Coach K and the Refs

Former Duke player Andre Sweet said this about Coach K and the refs:
'So, is it true? Does Duke really get all the calls?' " Sweet mimics. "I'm like, 'Of course, it's true. It's Duke.' It's Mike Krzyzewski. The refs were afraid of him. He could get you calls that no one else could get. That's part of playing for Duke.

Posted by: SteveH | Oct 16, 2007 10:45:42 PM

This year's World Series of Poker featured all sorts of contestants who seemed to think God/Jesus intervene in card games but not hurricanes or Darfur.

Posted by: Mike | Oct 16, 2007 10:52:12 PM

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Posted by: peterwei | Oct 21, 2007 11:31:04 PM

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