By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

What liberal media?*

Check out the nominally liberal Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi, who absolutely unloaded on Barack Obama in Sunday’s paper in a piece headlined “The Audacity of Ego.” Ouch.

No doubt Obama is possessed of a healthy self-regard and then some. But isn’t it pretty typical for a presidential candidate — especially one who’s new to the national political scene — to undertake a foreign trip?

*Eric Alterman wrote the book.

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  1. Downpuppy

    How did she know that Obama's ego made him travel? Two events to spice up the campaign, channeling Krauthammer (in a Barnicle/Royko sort of way) & Our Joan filled space that could have been better used for shoe ads.I could have guessed lots of reasons for a trip or a speech. Joan didn't have to. She's psychic!The old fashioned Globe would have had somebody pick up a phone & find out why things were done. The New Boston Globe is merging with the Weekly Globe. Batboy for President!

  2. Anonymous

    Vennochi never missed an opportunity to do the same thing to Kerry 4 years ago, many times for no reason other than because she could. It’s as if she’s trying to earn some ‘not liberal’ creds. It’s one thing to write about ego in the context of an overall article about the Obama personality, but to make it the focus of the piece is just carrying water for the McCain campaign and its surrogates.

  3. Rich

    Yeah, because daring to criticize The Anointed One means you can’t be a liberal. (*eyeroll*)And you like to slap others in your blog posts for woolly-headed thinking. (*shakes head*). Been hanging out with the humorless (when it comes to St. Obama anyways) BMG-ites too much?Just a couple of possible scenarios:* Like all card-carrying blue staters, she wants to see St. Obama win but feels his ego act will hurt him at the polls, hence telling him to tone it down.* Or perhaps she’s a HRC supporter who just can’t take the Cult of St. O any more and needed to vent.

  4. Neil

    Vennochi’s a little late to the game. Evidence of the banal point includes what some blogger wrote in Mother Jones, in February. And Slate’s Obama Messiah watch started “last January”, as in January, 2007. A year and a half ago, and abandoned it four months ago. Some of them were fairly amusing, as I recall. That Timothy Noah, what a cutup!I like her local stuff like the me-first culture of the firefighter’s union, but in the Sunday column she’s supposed to comment on national affairs, and doesn’t seem interested in anything of substance.Smells like deadline pressure and if you can get away with tossing together some old stuff into a trite rehash, summer’s the time to do it.

  5. Anonymous

    Dan, listen to yourself. Just because Obama is a great story line doesn’t mean he should have the most important job on the planet. I think Joan absolutely nailed it. Just because experience isn’t everything, it doesn’t follow that it is therefore nothing. He’s being marketed like a real estate development. I refuse to believe that this is the best we can do for America’s first African American president. (Hell, he might even be the right guy, but not yet. For context, less than 4 years ago he was a state legislator, with 13 years less experience than Jim Marzilli). Even JFK wouldn’t engage in this much puffery. Let’s all take a deep breath and make sure this is what we want.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    I find it interesting that my extremely mild criticism of Joan is engendering such defensiveness, at least from a couple of commenters.Is it possible to be a successful presidential candidate without having a large and occasionally unattractive ego? I’d say no. So I fail to see how Obama stands out.

  7. Don, American

    The “messiah” is an empty suit who thinks he will be in charge for “eight to ten years.”

  8. mike_b1

    I’m still wondering what Joan’s point was. Maybe Old Man McCain will tell us. As soon as he gets a computer, that is.

  9. Anonymous

    Naaahhh….the media is fair and unbiased. Just ask the New York Times. It is “fair” to give Barak Obama an op-ed piece, and “biased” (against Obama) to give McCain the same right unless he writes what the Times wants him to write.Maybe we need a Fairness Doctrine (for the news media, not talk shows) after all.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 10:01: Are you privy to the editing process Obama went through? If so, please do tell — it will help us analyze whether McCain was treated fairly or not.The Times has published seven op-eds by McCain in the last 12 years, and it would be pretty shocking if he doesn’t get at least one more in before the election.But no, there’s no equal-time provision. You’ve got to make some news. Obama’s op-ed made news. It’s not clear that McCain’s does.

  11. Peter Porcupine

    DK – Filming yourself speechifying at the Brandenburg Gate – BEFORE YOU EVEN ACTUALLY HAVE THE NOMINATION – for use in a commercial speaks to an outsize ego, even for a politician.I hope the superdelegates are watching, because if he seems a liiiitle overblown NOW, imagine what he’ll be like after the August Imprimateur!

  12. Dan Kennedy

    PP: I must be missing something. He’s giving a friggin’ speech in a photogenic setting. Properly done, it could offset his biggest weakness — his perceived lack of gravitas and experience on foreign policy.McCain had been bugging him for months to go overseas. Is it OK to visit the nasty places but egotistical to hit the nice spots? I don’t get it.

  13. Anonymous

    This is totally unrelated to the thread, but Dan, you’ve got to change your mugshot, man. It appears so small in this context that everytime I see it I think I’m looking at a guy who snapped his neck and has one of those halo/head/shoulder immoblizer harness things on. You can do better, chief.

  14. Anonymous

    Said it before, I’ll say it again. Puffery. The fact that Obama “gets” symbolism isn’t enough. When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. We can, in fact, do better.

  15. mike_b1

    anon 3:58: That’s specious, considering all Old Man McCain knows is symbolism, e.g., “US good, Islam bad.” In his mind, he’s still in a Vietnam prison camp, thinking up ways to slander John Kerry when he gets out.

  16. lovable liberal

    B-list Maureen Dowd…If Vennochi turned her attention to herself, her alter ego would assert that she was trying for a cable gig to move up to the A list.

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