Last week I wrote a post entitled: The Media should ignore Michelle Bachmann's SOTU cry for attention speech Tuesday, but they won't. SInce I've been monitoring the media over the past six years I could predict that the MSM would jump on the chance to give the Tea Party some free publicity, and CNN has done just that.
Michele Bachmann -- means that it's worth staying tuned in after Obama finishes. (CNN announced plans Monday night to carry the Ryan and Bachmann's speeches in their entirety!) The minority party response has been a bit of a mixed blessing in recent times -- think Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in 2009 -- and Ryan is the latest rising star to take on the challenge. His task is made even more difficult by the fact that Bachmann will be giving a response of her own -- one likely to highlight the divide that remains between the GOP establishment and the tea party crowd. It's a near-certainty that Bachmann's speech will get more attention than Ryan's; how does the GOP establishment respond to that reality (if at all)?
When Cillizza says Bachmann's speech will get more attention than Ryan's is really an indication that many MSMers constantly need chaos and competing narratives in their world. Paul Ryan's speech just isn't juicy enough.
Here's a question: Would CNN have covered Alan Grayson if he'd have given aprogressive rebuttal speech after Kathleen Sebelius delivered the Democratic party-sanctioned one?
Some in the GOP are upset with this decision. Greg Sargent:
Here's an interesting twist on Michele Bachmann's plan to offer her own Tea Party-flavored response to Obama's State of the Union speech: It turns out GOP aides are annoyed with CNN for agreeing to air her speech in its entirety.
Originally, Bachmann's response was going to be available for viewing only on the Internet. But CNN has announced that her speech will be shown in full in addition to broadcasting the speech from GOP Rep. Paul Ryan, who was picked for the official response by the Republican leadership.
GOP aides are unhappy with the decision, because it risks making the opposition look conflicted -- as if the two are trying to upstage one another -- muddling GOP efforts to offer a unified response.
"CNN is basically inventing a conflict that doesn't really exist," a GOP aide emails. "It's not responsible journalism."
To the GOP, it's not responsible journalism because it makes them look like a party in disarray. To me it's not responsible because it's unwarranted and unnecessary coverage of a publicity hound from a news network that should know better.
Simple Answers To Simple Questions
I'm really not sure what to make of this. In fact, I'm a little surprised CNN would agree to this, just as a matter of fairness -- viewers will hear one speech from a Democrat, followed by a speech by a far-right Republican, and then followed by another speech by a far-right Republican? If a liberal Dem announced this morning that he/she is delivering some remarks reflecting on the SOTU tonight, would that also be aired on CNN's national airwaves in its entirety? No.
Oh, by the way, Weigel adds that CNN has been in cahoots with the Tea Party already:
I'd just point out that the CNN has a longstanding romance with the Tea Party Express, the PAC that's putting on the Bachmann speech. Later this year, the network and the PAC (and potentially other Tea Party groups) are co-sponsoring a presidential debate between Republican candidates. So, not shocking at all for the network to promote this and then claim a higher purpose.
This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.
Indeed. CNN wasn't as much a 24/7 Tea Party promotional channel as Fox News was, but it gave it plenty of free pub. This is just more of the same craven behavior that drives everyone to different news channel.