June 28th, 2007

The MSM is Ready for Fred Thompson’s Close-Up — As In Ready, Aim, Fire

by Philip Baruth

Anybody who thinks that Fred Thompson can vault into the race at more or less the last minute, and avoid withering media scrutiny in so doing, couldn’t be more mistaken.

fredAs a rule of thumb, the mainstream media really wants to use the negative info it has collected on all the candidates, for the same reason that campaigns run negative ads if they can get away with it.

Negative sizzles.

Of course, ethics and a given media outlet’s need to project objectivity do a great deal to stem that impulse, to temper and filter it.

But if mainstream reporters can tell themselves that Candidate X is actively attempting to avoid scrutiny, then the gloves can come off in service of those same ethical principles.

And that’s when you see some real heat in a CNN profile, for instance.

Check out this analysis of Fred Thompson’s outsider image. It might easily have been written by Josh Marshall or Wonkette, which is fine by VDB.

But it is unusual to see this level of open MS blood-lust so early, and worth noting for what it foreshadows.

Clearly the reporters and editors involved with the piece feel that there’s something a bit funky about sidestepping three debates, entering the race with explicit refusals to discuss policy, and soaring to the top of the polls.

And they mean to quickly correct the imbalance.

Expect more of this on Thompson, including a long eye-popping piece in either the New Yorker or Salon, running down some choice anecdotes from Thompson’s skirt-chasing years.

Take a good look at that bald head in the above photograph again. If you can’t see the infra-red targeting dot there yet, give it a week or two.

Late Update, Monday, July 2, 6:59 am:

Right on time. The New York Times does CNN one better: a profile pointing out that not only is Thompson himself a Gucci-wearing lobbyist, he’s raised a brood of same.

Looks like this is the rap on Thompson for the forseeable future: not just lazy, but on the take.