The Dangers of a Bored Press Corps
The three-ring circus that has opened in Crawford (the first in history in which all of the acts are clowns) is a wonderful example of what happens when you have a bored press corps. After so many days of standing around in the hot sun interviewing each other, along comes Cindy Sheehan to make all their dreams come true. They finally have a story, and if it has the potential to make the president look bad, all the better. The White House press corps loves that kind of stuff.
I first saw this coming last Sunday when I signed on to AOL and the Crawford campout was the lead item on AOL news. At that point there had been no significant national press coverage of Ms. Sheenan, so I questioned whether this story was worthy of showing up on the front page of every AOL user who signed on that day. As the week has played out it has become obvious that the story was going to have legs, whether deserved or not.
We now have a full-blown wacko Woodstock setting up in Crawford, with everything from representatives of many of the major anti-war groups, to the obligatory mock graveyard being installed along the roadway. All of these things make wonderful visuals for the broadcast media.
The good news is this story will have a finite life. At the end of the month President Bush will head back to Washington and will take the press corps with him. Once back in D.C. the press will again be occupied with real stories and this whole episode will fade. Without the presence of the press, the Crawford campus of "People Who Are Left of Everything" will disappear and any that show up in Washington will simply join the ranks of the others who are ignored there daily.