Is the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) politically picky when taking umbrage with topics pursued by the media? Could be. After Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report posted the "Obama Wife Slams Hillary" headline across his site, CJR ran an article complaining Drudge Barks, TV News Bites.
It seems the CJR is upset that Drudge's headline sparked a media feeding frenzy in which the major news sources all picked up both on the original story in the Chicago Sun-Times and on the interpretation that Michelle Obama's remark constituted an attack on Senator Hillary Clinton. Now for anyone who read the original story, there seems little doubt that Mrs. Obama's remark really was a thinly disguised dig at Hillary. The Sun-Times wrote:
At another stop, in Atlantic, Michelle said she travels with her husband in part "to model what it means to have family values," adding "if you can't run your own house, you can't run the White House." She didn't elaborate, but it could be interpreted as a swipe at the Clintons.
Taken in context, it would seem to be a pretty fair interpretation that Mrs. Obama was indeed making a direct comparison between her own travels with her candidate husband, and Hillary's very noticeable distance from her own philandering spouse, former President Bill Clinton. Not to the CJR, however. The CJR article proceeded to spend the majority of its space trying to refute the idea that Mrs. Obama was talking about Senator Clinton. The main thrust of its article seems to be that Drudge induced the media into a needless spate of stories that carried no real value, and existed only to titillate the reading public. Of course, when the media was obsessing over former Senator Fred Thompson's lovely (and younger) wife Jeri, there was no lack of stories musing about 'trophy wives' and their effect on the American public. Never mind that Mrs. Thompson is far from being a 'trophy wife'. And when former Mayor Rudy Guiliani's family was dragged into view last week, I do not recall the CJR complining about those stories, though they appeared to have even less journalistic value than does this one when judged by the CJR's criteria. It seems that the CJR only complains about journalistic value when it is Democrats who are being displayed in a negative light. Hat tip to Matt Drudge.