A tale of two foreign trips
A show of hands: Who remembers anything that happened during John McCain’s travels to Colombia and Mexico? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Well, I’d bet you have a good handle on what Barack Obama is up to this week. He just came from Afghanistan, and now he’s in Iraq, where he got a big boost when Prime ...
A show of hands: Who remembers anything that happened during John McCain's travels to Colombia and Mexico?
A show of hands: Who remembers anything that happened during John McCain’s travels to Colombia and Mexico?
Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?
Well, I’d bet you have a good handle on what Barack Obama is up to this week. He just came from Afghanistan, and now he’s in Iraq, where he got a big boost when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki basically endorsed his withdrawal plan. After a few more days in the Middle East, he’ll head to Europe, where by all accounts he’ll be treated like a savior coming to rescue transatlantic relations from George W. Bush.
His trip is getting major, wall-to-wall coverage — with much more to come — but in fact, Obama has gotten the lion’s share of media attention since the general election began:
Since June 9th, when Obama effectively clinched the votes for the nomination, the Project For Excellence In Journalism took a weekly look at 300 political stories in newspapers, magazines and television. In 77 percent of the stories, Obama played an important role, and 51 percent featured McCain.
A quick look at Google Trends shows that McCain hasn’t even been able to capitalize on the times he has made news. Here’s a graph of searches and news mentions for the past 30 days, with Obama in blue and McCain in red. As you can see, McCain’s Latin America trip was during the first week of July (point A), and it barely made a dent:
Many conservatives, no doubt, will see the dark hand of media bias at work here. But is that really the case? Is McCain the victim of the liberal media? Or is Obama just more interesting and new than McCain? Discuss.
UPDATE: As for this, maybe the New York Times did McCain a favor. Check out this line from the op-ed that the Times supposedly spiked:
[Obama] makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.
Well, 2010 is getting fairly specific, no?
Blake Hounshell is a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.
More from Foreign Policy
America Is a Heartbeat Away From a War It Could Lose
Global war is neither a theoretical contingency nor the fever dream of hawks and militarists.
The West’s Incoherent Critique of Israel’s Gaza Strategy
The reality of fighting Hamas in Gaza makes this war terrible one way or another.
Biden Owns the Israel-Palestine Conflict Now
In tying Washington to Israel’s war in Gaza, the U.S. president now shares responsibility for the broader conflict’s fate.
Taiwan’s Room to Maneuver Shrinks as Biden and Xi Meet
As the latest crisis in the straits wraps up, Taipei is on the back foot.