Eric Boehlert and I have been emailing each other for a while now discussing how truly awful the press has been covering the campaigns. It's not surprising that Americans are turned off by it. Instead of covering the real issues like health insurance, the Iraq war, torture and the economy---they seem fascinated by haircuts, lapel pins and dinner tips.
Reporters ended up contacting the waitress, Anita Esterday, at her home in Iowa yesterday. Ms. Esterday said she did not understand what all the commotion was about.
“You people are really nuts,” she told a reporter during a phone interview. “There’s kids dying in the war, the price of oil right now — there’s better things in this world to be thinking about than who served Hillary Clinton at Maid-Rite and who got a tip and who didn’t get a tip.”
Can any of you clearly tell us the differences between Obama, Hillary and the Edwards health-care plans are? Of course there are ups and downs and interesting turns on the trail to the presidency, but why did it take a Murray Waas report on Huckabee pardoning the serial rapist Wayne DuMond just a few weeks ago for the press to delve into his record as the Governor of Arkansas? It's not like that story was a secret. When each candidate throws their collective hats in the ring, why doesn't the press then hit the pavement and go all CSI up on their grills?
Let's start with the former POTUS and the instructive episode that unfolded after he accurately bemoaned the lack of substance from the campaign media. It happened in New Hampshire, during a stop at Keene State College where Clinton made reference to a recent study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism that found very little press attention was being paid to issues. "One percent of the press coverage was devoted to their record in public life," said President Clinton. "No wonder people think experience is irrelevant. A lot of the people covering the race think it is (irrelevant)."
I'll let Eric fill you in on the rest...