AJR logo     

    
 AJR  Features

From AJR,   June/July 2011  issue

Michele Bachmann is Running? No Way!!!   

The media pay lots of attention to the candidate’s second announcement that she’s running for president. Mon. June 27, 2011


By Rem Rieder
Rem Rieder (rrieder@ajr.umd.edu) is AJR's editor and senior vice president.      

There it was: a huge headline in bright blue letters screaming: "SHE'S RUNNING." Underneath it, a big picture of Rep. Michele Bachmann, who today "announced" in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, that she was seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

In fact, that's all I could see when I clicked on huffingtonpost.com around 11:45 a.m. Not another story in sight, except for the first line of a headline linking to something else.

That left me very confused. Seems to me I had heard Bachmann announce that she was running during the GOP debate a couple of weeks back. Had I missed a story about her dropping out? Was she now reentering the race?

The Huffington Post wasn't the only news outlet that was pretty excited about this bombshell. "Bachmann announces presidential run" was the dominant headline on Politico, also over a big picture of the candidate.

Also confusing. Politico is the news organization that owns this kind to stuff. If Bachmann's candidacy was old news to me, surely it was to the savants at that bastion of political obsession.

The Daily Beast listed Bachmann's "announcement" as the No. 1 item on its list of "must reads." Guess that makes sense, if The Daily Beast wants to be a history site. Washingtonpost.com showed some restraint: It was only the No. 3 news story there.

At the Drudge Report, the dominant headline was the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a law banning the sale or rental of violent video games to children. Right below it: You guessed it, a story about Bachmann's big event, as well as a picture of the candidate.

Bachmann was coming off a star turn in that GOP debate, and there's a lot of interest in the turbulent and unsettled Republican contest, at least among political junkies (and we know who we are). But why waste all of this attention on non-news?

Earlier this month, much was made of the fact that coverage of Sarah Palin's bus extravaganza was "overshadowing" Mitt Romney's stunning announcement that he was running for president. I found it hard to get excited by that particular media outrage, since Romney has been running for president since Lady Gaga was in preschool.

So, yes, let's stipulate that the fight for the Republican presidential nomination is a compelling and important story. But let's devote our time, effort and newshole to real news and meaningful analysis, not scripted faux events.