The Washington Post

Politico/NBC win big in Obama power move

At first blush, John Harris appears to be putting a good face on a bad situation. In a Politico story about today’s White House request for a joint session of Congress on the same night---Sept. 7---as the Politico/NBC Republican presidential debate, Harris is quoted:

“This turn of events offers a great opportunity for both the candidates and the audience of the debate,” added John F. Harris, POLITICO’s editor-in-chief and co-moderator for the debate. “It raises the profile of the whole evening and in many ways makes it the first general election debate of the 2012 cycle.”

That’s not spin; it’s the truth. Harris could have added that the “turn of events” means that whatever funds Politico/NBC had set aside for debate promotion can move to other priorities. Because this thing will now promote itself, via:

Cable News: It’s still a bit too early to make a big deal of Tropical Storm-cum-Hurricane-in-Abeyance Katia. So that leaves ’round-the-clock news channels with choices such as AAA Labor Day travel projections and the joint-session controversy. Were I a producer, I’d go with the latter.

UPDATE: House Speaker John Boehner is now telling Obama that he’ll be welcome on Sept. 8, a day later. For more information on this, be sure to include “Politico/NBC debate” in your web-search terms.

Ron Paul: Reports say that he’s considering a step that’d block the president’s joint session. “Considering” triggers the possibility of a nice, prolonged “process” story, complete with frequent updates and intense competition among outlets to track just what the Paul people are doing. Each update will be searchable with the term “Politico/NBC debate.”

Editorializing about partisan squabbling: Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked today whether he was concerned about the president’s joint session offending Nancy Reagan, who last November announced plans for the debate, which will take place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif.

Op-ed writers couldn’t ask for a better hook to make the argument that the summer’s highly partisan rifts are leapfrogging Labor Day. Again, search under “Politico/NBC debate.”

Erik Wemple Blog: We’ll be looking for signs that Politico and NBC are slanting their coverage of the debate about the debate. First find: A Politico story from this afternoon that all but advises Congress on all the ways it can block Obama’s appearance. In fairness, the piece is the wholly owned subsidiary of a well-balanced account of the overlap.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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