I don't want to be unfair to Jenna and Barbara. Growing up in a fishbowl isn't easy.
But to paraphrase what Jay Leno said to Hugh Grant after his little escapade with a street hooker: What the hell were they thinking?
And what was the person who vetted their speech thinking?
Sex jokes about former first lady Barbara Bush?
I've been covering conventions a long time, and this might have been the weirdest moment since George McGovern gave his acceptance speech at 3 a.m.
I mean, it looked like a video you would make in your basement, and then show only to your closest friends. To judge by the reaction of the scribes around me, already pumped up by Arnold, it was cringe-inducing. Maybe they were trying to appeal to the Paris Hilton crowd. Imus says he took his hearing aid out until the twins had left the stage.
Fortunately, their mom gave a nice speech to round out the evening.
I thought I must have been living on a different planet when Fox's Chris Wallace started gushing over how the young women had been funny, sexy, intelligent and so on. The reviews were not so kind on the other channels, or in the morning papers.
Take the Los Angeles Times: | http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-tv1sep01,1,7070985.story?coll=la-home-headlines "The Bush daughters, fresh from their booing this week at the MTV Video Music Awards in Miami, came onstage at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night and introduced a new strategy in the war on terrorism: giggling. . . .
"The strategy Tuesday, apparently, was to have sisters Jenna and Barbara humanize and soften the grim-faced Politburo image that dogs the Bush-Cheney campaign, which hasn't made much of an effort to court those young Americans who call it a good day if they've remembered to TiVo 'The Simple Life.' So here they were, girlie and giggly and glammed-up (Jenna in some kind of Juicy couture-looking track suit top over white pants, Barbara in a black cocktail dress).
"They told slightly off-color jokes, apparently to drive home the point that, supporting a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage aside, their parents weren't totally freaked out about S-E-X. Her grandmother, Jenna said, 'thinks "Sex in the City" is something married people do but never talk about,' getting the show's name wrong. Barbara said, 'Jenna and I are really not very political.' She's the one who graduated from Yale.
"The Republicans, you were reminded, are really good at chest-thumping and flag-hugging, but they ought to stay away from showcasing their privileged, Prada-wearing first daughters until the campaign is over. After the speeches were over, even CNN's talking heads seemed to be struggling to make sense of the sisters' sister act. Judy Woodruff stammered, 'I'm not sure what that was about,' while an incensed Jeff Greenfield called the appearance a 'frankly discordant moment.'"
The New York Post | http://nypost.com/news/nationalnews/27895.htm, which likes the Republican convention better than it liked the Democrats'--"CONAN THE AMERICAN" is today's banner headline--finds no socially redeeming value in the daughters' shtick:
"The Bush twins made their national television debut last night -- with a string of weak one-liners that drew cringes from the crowd and at one point brought a soft rebuke from their grandparents.
"The twins, Barbara and Jenna Bush, had the job of introducing President Bush, who in turn introduced First Lady Laura Bush.
"For much of their brief time on stage, the twins seemed to amuse themselves more than the crowd."
The coverage, of course, was dominated by Arnold, as this New York Times | http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/01/politics/campaign/01arnold.html story reflects:
"The bodybuilder turned movie star turned politician, who won his latest role as California governor in a recall vote last year, took center stage to lend his moderate image, his immigrant-made-good story, to a convention seeking to define the G.O.P. once again as a big-tent party. . . .
"Mr. Schwarzenegger's immediate job in speaking to the convention was to help promote the re-election of President Bush. But his appearance could not help but pump up his own political prospects.
"Conventions provide a chance to preen before the party faithful, an especially valuable opportunity for moderate Republicans like Mr. Schwarzenegger. And he wasted no time in trying to burnish his Republican credentials with biting partisan remarks. 'Speaking of acting, one of my movies was called "True Lies,"' he said. 'And that's what the Democrats should have called their convention.'"
Slate's William Saletan | http://slate.msn.com/id/2106025/ is impressed, but only to a point:
"Arnold Schwarzenegger gives one hell of a speech. It's the best speech I've seen at either of this year's conventions. I bet he persuaded a lot of people who share some Republican attitudes but feel uncomfortable with the party's hard core -- people like me -- to think seriously about voting for President Bush. If you're one of those folks, I'd like to talk to you about why a Schwarzenegger Republican shouldn't support Bush."
Ticking off the highlights, and noting the tale of how the new immigrant was inspired by Richard Nixon (the only time, I predict, that the disgraced ex-president's name will be heard in the Garden), Saletan writes: "I agree with every one of these things. I can see myself as a Schwarzenegger Republican. But I can't vote for Bush.
"Why not? Let's start with that Humphrey-Nixon story. It conveys that Schwarzenegger's understanding of the two parties is frozen in 1968. That's a long time ago. Both parties have changed a lot. The Democrats under Bill Clinton rediscovered a centrist philosophy they had abandoned. They became more attentive to public safety and more friendly to free enterprise. The Republican Party also shifted -- not to the center, but to the right. If you liked where Nixon stood in the late 1960s and early 1970s, you're more likely to find similar policies 30 years later not in the administration of George W. Bush, but in the administration of Bill Clinton and possibly the administration of John Kerry."
Remember how the media loved the fact that the Dems limited their assaults on Bush in Boston? You don't hear much media chatter about the same issue in New York, but the Washington Times | http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040901-123956-8063r.htm makes the point:
"The word to Republican speakers at the national convention is that bashing Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry is fine.
"Unlike Democrats, who put out word that they were editing speeches to tamp down on harsh criticism of President Bush at their convention in Boston in July, the Republicans are not shying away from full-throttle engagement. Headlining Monday night's action, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani referred to Mr. Kerry a dozen times, at one point saying the Massachusetts senator might even subjugate U.S. interests to the will of other nations."
Salon's Eric Boehlert | http://www.9salon.9com/9news/9feature/92004/09/01/kerry_media/index.9html, starting off with the swift boat attacks, laments the state of Kerry's rapid response:
"The nasty tricks have some Kerry supporters frustrated by the Democrats' inability to hit back hard -- and to take control of the news cycle by doing so. It hasn't always been this way. Two generations ago a Massachussetts Democrat, John F. Kennedy, beat the dirty-tricks politics of Richard Nixon by playing hardball himself. And in 1992, Bill Clinton defeated a nasty Bush campaign that had eviscerated Michael Dukakis four years earlier, by running a tough campaign war room and aggressively fighting the Bush attempts at smears. So far the Kerry campaign hasn't been able to master the same instinct for the jugular.
"'The response to the Swift Boat controversy was not at a level it should have been,' says Paul Alexander, director of "Brothers in Arms," a new documentary about Kerry's Vietnam days.
"'The question should be, what about Bush's military record? That's the response. Not that there were 12 bullet holes on the side of Kerry's boat in Vietnam. The only way to beat Karl Rove and that level of viciousness is to hit back harder. If Democrats don't understand that . . . well then, you can finish that sentence."
"Frustration also simmers around the press, and the double standard it seems to have adopted toward the candidates. 'Bush has run the most issueless, negative campaign in modern politics,' notes Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network. 'Yet nothing is written about the fact that a sitting president is offering no agenda for his second term.'"
Well, not exactly nothing, but . . .
"Nowhere has that that double standard been more apparent than when contrasting the way the media has covered the two parties' conventions. Compare the coverage of Bush's colossal blunder on Monday -- telling NBC's Matt Lauer that he didn't think the war on terror was winnable -- with Teresa Heinz Kerry's trivial 'shove it' remark during the Democratic Convention in Boston last month. So far, Bush's gaffe has garnered far less coverage than Heinz Kerry's."
It hasn't been buried, but Bush's rhetorical retreat has certainly gotten a fraction of the Teresa coverage.
I write elsewhere in The Post about Kerry beefing up his message team, as I quoted James Carville predicting in this space on Monday. But the New York Daily News | http://nydailynews.com/front/story/227911p-195575c.html gives it a little more drama:
"Sen. John Kerry is angry at the way his campaign has botched the attacks from the Swift boat veterans and has ordered a staff shakeup that will put former Clinton aides in top positions.
"'The candidate is furious,' a longtime senior Kerry adviser told the Daily News. 'He knows the campaign was wrong. He wanted to go after the Swift boat attacks, but his top aides said no.'"
Excuse me? Who exactly is in charge of the campaign? Shrum?
I've spent part of the last three days hanging out with Tom Brokaw as he covers his last convention, and if you're interested in how network news does these things, here's my dispatch | http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50724-2004Aug31.html from the skybox.
More static on McCain, this time from the New Republic's Jonathan Chait | http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=express&s=chait083104:
"McCain's most implausible attempt to cozy up to Bush has been his explanation of how he fundamentally agrees with Bush. 'Well I mentioned the transcendent issue [terrorism], but there's a variety of other issues: free trade, fiscal conservancy, economic policies that will stimulate growth,' he said. Let's see. Bush has boosted agriculture subsidies and imposed tariffs on steel, shrimp, and other products, while Kerry actually has a strong pro-free-trade record. Fiscal 'conservancy'? McCain has railed against the spending that has swollen under Bush, who has got to be the least fiscally responsible president in modern history. Economic policies to stimulate growth? Bush's policies include tax cuts and plenty of them, weakened environmental regulations, and opposition to a patients' bill of rights (which Bush claims would have led to an explosion of business-strangling lawsuits). Too bad McCain opposed Bush on every single one of those issues.
"McCain is spouting all this nonsense because, as he hardly even bothers to deny, he'd like to get the Republican nomination four years from now; his speech last night was part of his ongoing audition. I wish him well. If he got the nomination, I'd probably vote for him. (American politics desperately needs somebody to transform the GOP from a patronage party for lobbyists and the rich into a party that advances some semblance of the national interest.) But if McCain thinks that carrying Bush's water this fall will win over the Republican Party faithful, he's utterly deluded.
"McCain's apostasies on the environment, health care, stem cells, the gay marriage amendment, and other issues would disqualify him by themselves. "
What's Ari Fleischer up to these day? I know you've been wondering. The Los Angeles Times | http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/showcase/la-sp-fleischer31aug31.story checks the box score:
"Now, after a year spent writing his memoirs and making speeches, he wants to coach. Specifically, he wants to be a pitching coach. He believes he can help athletes, coaches, teams and leagues make their pitches to the media, teach them what to say and what not to say, advise them how to handle all those annoying questions. . . .
"He considers himself highly qualified, citing what he calls the 'surprisingly striking and similar' live coverage and daily scrutiny of politics and sports. 'When Bush lost the New Hampshire primary [in 2000], within moments of his loss, the press was asking, "Are you going to fire [campaign strategist] Karl Rove?" When people said Dick Cheney was unpopular, at the beginning of this year, the press was asking, "Are you going to dump Cheney from the ticket?"' Fleischer said. 'In pro football, if your team starts out 0-3, the question is going to get asked: Are you going to fire the head coach?'"
That's funny--people are also asking that about his former boss.
"Hardball," which did the Dems from Fanueil Hall, is set up here at Herald Square, across from Macy's. And as Jay Rosen | http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2004/08/31/cnn_rnc.html observes, other networks are following suit:
"I dropped by CNN's Tick Tock Diner, which sits on Eighth Avenue and 34 Street, catty corner from the arena and well inside the security perimeter. It's hard to say exactly what the Diner is during its temporary lease to CNN.
"'It has all the trappings of a diner,' wrote Dante Chinni in the Christian Science Monitor. 'There are chrome stools and booths, and waiters dressed in CNN aprons and shirts. But there's no real diner-- it's more of a VIP/media lounge cum TV-show set.'
"Now according to Sam Feist, senior executive producer for political programming, the idea was to grab a location 'that screamed New York.' And said politics. And this is it, he said, gesturing around-- a true New York Diner. . . .
"The Diner was one of the spaces CNN had designed to bring you and I 'closer to the convention,' a phrase in use in all my conversations at the Tick Tock. From them I confirmed the impression I had shared with PressThink readers. The sky box is dead, its vision outmoded. It is being abandoned as a base for convention coverage."
Yes, but how was the food?
Slate's Julia Turner | http://slate.msn.com/id/2105932/ tried so hard to like the first lady:
"Laura Bush, as prim as she seems, has always been something of a pinup girl for the left. We can't help it: We fantasize about her. Where conservatives see a demure Texan homemaker, we're sure she's a closet liberal, sensible and smart. Like lovesick teens, we pay undue attention to her most insignificant utterances. (One time, she refused to say what she thought about the death penalty. She's probably against it, just like us!) Shared interests seem to offer proof of some ultimate compatibility. (A librarian who loves reading! Doesn't she see? We love reading, too!)
"We've fooled ourselves into believing that she's too smart for her husband, that she's tormented by his brutish policies, that she's a dulcet voice of reason, whispering moderate nothings into the president's ear. But as George W. Bush's re-election campaign rolls onward, the truth becomes increasingly clear: Our fantasies are just that -- fantasy. Laura isn't the woman we thought she was. We've got to stop seeing her like this."
Meanwhile, it seems that Fox News is as popular with the anti-Bush demonstrators as, well, Michael Moore is with the GOP. Some protesters gathered at Fox's Sixth Avenue headquarters yesterday, carrying such signs as "Faux News" and, stealing a page from Bill O'Reilly, "Shut Up!"
But Fox could get the last laugh. Its ratings, as I noted late yesterday, are up 127 percent for the Republicans' first night than for the debut of the Democratic convention, while CNN's are down 39 percent and MSNBC's down 28 percent.
Is Kerry Sinking?
That's a ridiculous question.
The guy is challenging an incumbent president and is 1 to 3 points down in the latest polls -- margin-of-error territory.
But the buzz among the Washington pundits, temporarily transplanted to New York, is that the campaign is in serious trouble.
They've even started to use the S-word. Big shakeup, say some journos. Kerry angry at how badly he's been advised, etc.
I think this is way out of control. Almost but not quite reminiscent of Iowa, when the press said JFK had no chance against the Dean juggernaut.
Bringing in Joe Lockhart and Joel Johnson is not a desperation shakeup. Dumping Jim Jordan for Mary Beth Cahill last November, now that was a shakeup.
Certainly Kerry has had a rough month. Maybe we're at a turning point in what has been a very static race. But it's too soon to tell, media hyperventilating notwithstanding.
Team Kerry was slow to respond to the swift boat attacks, but it was not unreasonable, for a few days at least, to avoid giving oxygen to a tiny group buying ads in three states. What the Kerryites misjudged was how cable could turn this into an August thunderstorm that washed away everything else.
Back in the 2000 campaign, the press spent the spring and summer writing about what a horrible candidate Gore was. Then he kissed his wife on a Los Angeles stage, shot up in the polls and Slate was declaring that "Bush is toast." He wasn't.
It was only a few weeks ago that the media were pronouncing the Democratic convention a highly disciplined success. Then Kerry got no bump in the polls and the CW gradually became that Boston was a huge missed opportunity.
This is, at bottom, poll driven. If Kerry blips up a few points later this month, we'll see some "comeback" stories. But right now we're one step away from "campaign in disarray" pieces.
Perhaps the media's focus on "rapid response" is somewhat replaced. Christie Whitman said on MSNBC that Kerry has yet to answer the question "I want to be president because --." I don't know whether that's true, but Kerry would probably help himself if he could boil down the answer to a few phrases that don't contain the word Vietnam.
(Kerry just finished speaking to the American Legion convention -- breaking with the laying-low tradition when the other guy is being nominated -- but it sounded to me like his typical laundry-list speech. He even used some verbatim lines from his convention speech. The Fox anchor noted that Kerry didn't apologize for his antiwar comments in 1971. Was anyone seriously expecting that he would?)
Josh Marshall | http://talkingpointsmemo.com is on the same wavelength, declaring that "what had been a congealing sense that the second half of August had been a bad couple weeks for Kerry had turned into a galloping panic that his campaign is in disarray and hope for his candidacy may be close to over.
"There are articles about a possible shake-up among high-level staffers, blind quotes from Democratic insiders saying that after a couple more days it may be too late; and I've gotten a slew of emails from readers either asking me if I still think there's hope or ranting that they've had it with Mary Beth Cahill or Stephanie Cutter or someone else.
"All I can say is, really, really, shut up and calm down.
"Politically, this is one of the worst things about Democrats -- and it has many sources. As a group they seem to have a great tendency toward becoming disheartened, turning on their candidate, doubting his strategy, doubting his advisors, and so forth. Unfortunately, the candidates and advisors have an equal tendency to be open to that kind of fretting. And with the media playing the handmaiden to the synergizing anxiety, the whole thing can become very demoralizing and damaging for campaigns.
"Many folks look back and say Al Gore ran a terrible campaign. Maybe. Maybe not. For me, I look back and see something different. I remember a campaign that was far too sensitive to the spin and CW of the moment and thus capable of being buffeted by the smallest political squall. This, rather than any particular tactic or strategy, has always struck me as its greatest failing. . . .
"This is not a Pollyannaish post. The Kerry campaign needs to get control of the debate back from the president. And they need to start hitting much harder. But Democrats themselves need to be a lot tougher and hardier about the cycles campaigns go through. And that applies to self-serving Democratic 'insiders' too."
The reviews are still rolling in from Day 2 of the convention. Christopher Caldwell of the Weekly Standard | http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/540dntba.asp casts his vote . . . for Laura:
"The talk of the Garden last night was Arnold Schwarzenegger's exuberant tribute to the American freedom that first drew him to fame and fortune in California. Every other pundit compared his oratory to Ronald Reagan's. Many Republicans criticized the organizers for failing to end the evening on that rousing note, rather than with Laura Bush's subdued chat. They're wrong. Mrs. Bush's was an elegant effort and her steady contribution to the campaign will be more decisive over the long haul.
"Mrs. Bush is proving, in her quiet fashion, a tremendous asset to her husband's campaign. CNN last week reported that 63 percent of Americans have a good opinion of her, versus 20 who don't. A Los Angeles Times poll carried out in recent days was even more impressive, showing a 72-percent approval rating. It also compared her numbers to those of her counterpart, Teresa Heinz Kerry. Seventeen percent said Mrs. Bush's actions made them more likely to vote for her husband, versus 3 percent who said less likely. The numbers are reversed for Mrs. Kerry: 12 percent say she makes them more likely to vote for Senator Kerry, versus 17 percent who say less likely. By a margin of 56 to 26, Mrs. Bush better fits the public's idea of what they want in her role.
"How come? Mrs. Bush has been helped throughout the campaign by the nonchalant and apolitical-sounding way she replies to questions -- whether, for instance, she thought the anti-Kerry ads posted by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were unfair. ('Not really,' she said.) For those who back the vets, this was agreement."
Maybe she should have replaced Vice President Cheney on the ticket.
GOP strategist Arnold Steinberg, in National Review | http://nationalreview.com/comment/steinberg200409010843.asp, deconstructs Arnold:
"Arnold Schwarzenegger helped President Bush Tuesday night, but he helped himself even more. First, remember, this speech was a mutual accommodation. Gov. Schwarzenegger publicly urged Republicans to give him a prime-time slot. (This was not the first time he had put the Bushies on the spot: Shortly after his election, he publicly said the president should give California more money if he wanted to carry the state.) In the end, the president's strategists realized the benefit of a strong Schwarzenegger endorsement, especially if it were on message. . . .
"For Schwarzenegger, style trumps substance. That's because he is Orwellian in his definition of reality, which he owns. He is, after all, the consummate showman. But he is more: He is smart. There is no one around him who is sharper. And he is goal-driven. He has better political instincts and a keener sense of timing than any of his retainers, one of whom is Mike Murphy, who also counsels John McCain. And who among us does not agree with the proposition that McCain's embrace of Bush is partly a setup for his own run for president in 2008? Surely, that's likely too early for Arnold -- which means Murphy has no conflict of interest.
"Schwarzenegger nevertheless runs a permanent, full-time campaign operation. . . . Senior U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein will not run in 2006: Why not run for her Senate seat, a nice transition to the presidency? There is, of course, the small matter of Orrin Hatch's constitutional Amendment, which would have to pass before an immigrant could become president. But California's governor is, as he reminds us, a positive thinker, and his immigrant spiel is enabling."
Andrew Sullivan | http://www.andrewsullivan.com is, well, appalled by one prominent speaker:
"How to convey the spectacular incoherence of last night's continuing infomercial for the re-election of George W. Bush? The evening began with a series of speeches trumpeting vast increases in federal spending: on education, healthcare, AIDS, medical research, and on and on. No, these were not Democrats. They were Bush Republicans, extolling the capacity of government to help people, to cure the sick, educate the young, save Africans from HIV, subsidize religious charities, prevent or cure breast cancer, and any other number of worthy causes.
"The speakers were designed to target certain demographic and interest groups, just as the Democrats used to. The notion that these things are best left to the private sector, or that spending needs to be slashed in the wake of rising debt, or that the race of a speaker is irrelevant: all these are now Republican heterodoxy. The highpoint of this section was the speech of Bill Frist. I've never really listened to him give a speech before and this one was frighteningly bad. He has a cadaverous face and a terrifying smile. His first anecdote made no sense at all. His denunication of trial lawyers -- the one moment when he didn't look like a funeral director -- left him wild-eyed and awkward-gestured. He spoke as if to a bunch of seven year olds in their second language.
"How did this guy ever get to a position of leadership? He's the Senate Majority Leader and, on a bad day, he'd give small kids nightmares.
"When you see who really runs the GOP (funny Tom DeLay isn't in prime time, isn't it?), you begin to realize why a cross-dressing ex-mayor, a dissident Californian and an unelected ex-librarian are among its major spokespeople."
Another Sullivan, Amy, at Washington Monthly | http://www.washingtonmonthly.com sees the twins flopping:
"Even Conservatives Hated Them. . . . The verdict from the Fox News crew on Jenna, Barbara, and Laura is not good.
"Bill Kristol: 'The last half hour did not help, as far as I can tell, Bush's campaign for reelection.'
"Mort Kondracke: 'Those two girls were ditzes. I'm surprised they were allowed on the program.'
"Fred Barnes: 'I think she [Laura] had no place up there or the daughters either. . . . Their mother said they'll be pursuing their own careers. I would advise them to look in some field other than comedy.'
"Now I don't think that anyone -- anyone -- casts their vote based on the family of the candidate. And that goes for people who really don't like Teresa, too. But it's gotta be pretty bad when the message discipline breaks down like this at Fox News."
And the conservative Real Clear Politics | http://www.realclearpolitics.com/commentary.html piles on:
"The Bush twins were a disaster. I just don't know how to put it any other way. After the first couple of jokes I winced. After a couple of more I was begging them to stop. They didn't.
"The litany of jokes they told were, in my opinion, both juvenile and inappropriate. Even worse, the twins reflected badly on the President, reinforcing the worst possible stereotype of the ditsy, slacker daughters of a C-student fratboy from Yale. My jaw literally hit the floor when Jenna Bush said: 'Since we've graduated from college, we're looking around for something to do for the next few years. Kind of like Dad.'
"I'm sorry, but whoever wrote that line should be dragged to the guillotine at noon today. . . .
"Laura was better. But she still didn't make a connection with the crowd like some might have expected. In general, people like Laura Bush. In particular, Republican delegates LOVE Laura Bush. But her speech was rather pedestrian and the delegates in the hall absorbed it as such, responding to the first lady with polite and respectful -- though not wildly passionate -- applause."
Cable's most important story just collided with its favorite sensational story.
A judge dismissing charges against Kobe Bryant, hours before Dick Cheney is to address the nation.
I can just see television execs thinking: Ah, Cheney isn't that exciting a speaker anyway. And he's ONLY vice president.
Kobe, after all, is one of the most famous athletes in the world. The young woman's accusations against him received a tidal wave of publicity. They were ready for jury selection. This is a slam-dunk, if you'll forgive me, a bombshell of a story. "A fiasco, a disaster," Jeff Toobin is saying on CNN.
But it also erupts just as the third night of the Republican convention is getting under way. A decidedly unscripted moment against the backdrop of an extremely scripted political event.
Obviously, the networks will carry Cheney tonight.
And I doubt they'll be asking delegates what they think about the Bryant dismissal (okay, maybe in the California delegation). But the veep no longer controls the spotlight, and he'll be competing for space with the Lakers star on tomorrow's front pages.
Not since Dick Morris's call girl problems popped on the morning that Bill Clinton was to give his acceptance speech at the '96 convention in Chicago has there been this kind of last-minute tabloid distraction at a national political convention.
I bet this isn't a tough choice for ESPN.