Kerry On

NYT doesn't really cover Kerry's speech

John Kerry gave an effective speech at the DNC last night that skillfully bridged his friendship with McCain, with a critique of his policies.

The speech has gotten many tablespoons of gooey praise—here, here, and here (and here and here and here). It’s one big blogospheric hug for Kerry. (All of which doesn’t negate the praise, but if you want just a tad more perspective than “Best Speech of Convention” or “awesome, like totally rad, he blew me out of the water,” here’s a more sedate, two-steps-back take on it.)

But—and I’m not trying to pull the “why didn’t the media cover this speech” speech, because there are umpteen speeches per day and two or three obvious headliners (last night, of course, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden)—it’s interesting that The New York Times today carried practically nothing on Kerry’s address.

It focused, understandably enough, on the big news: on Clinton’s call for “unity and hope” and on Biden’s blue-collar-guy/McCain-attack-dog double punch. Theirs are the post-convention news with longevity, for sure. But there is also widespread agreement that Kerry’s speech was a more effective attack on McCain than was Biden’s, and other than a few live-blogged lines while Kerry was speaking, the Times passed over it.

Given the pre-written disposition of bigger articles, it’s likely that Kerry’s surprisingly effective stage time threw everyone for a loop, as many in the blogosphere have amply mentioned, and no one at the Times could do more than blog briefly about it (busy as they were instead with the articles that had to be written speculating on Obama’s speech and detailing tonight’s stadium set-up). But as a colleague mentioned earlier today, The Gray Lady certainly has enough people in Denver.

At least the Washington Post got around to this funny little column describing a moment of “unity” on the convention floor between Kerry and a certain Swift Boater named T. Boone Pickens.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Jane Kim is a writer in New York.