Monday, Monday, Can’t Trust That Day

It’s Monday. Ergo, it’s fluff time. The Washington Post’s Lois Romano is the latest to deliver, in today’s profile entitled “John Kerry: Restlessly on the Road.”

Regular readers of Campaign Desk may recall other examples of the phenomenon we’ll call The News Editor’s Cry for Help, as in: “Give me something — anything — to fill the yawning hole of the Monday paper!” There was the one about George Bush and John Kerry’s bicycling habits. And then the story about the secretary of state-stakes.

Romano dutifully tells us that, on occasion, candidate Kerry “just needs to get off the plane,” and travels with enough gear to equip a Sports Authority outlet. He prefers “vigorous sport” to in-hotel workouts. He travels without a “first friend,” electing instead to pick the brains of guests he’s invited aboard. He’ll toast a newly engaged member of the press corps, but gets defensive when another reporter asks a casual question. We are treated to Kerry’s current reading list and movie picks (Seabiscuit is high on the list), and hear that he isn’t beyond an occasional late-night prank.

As we’ve noted before, we weep for the trees cut down to produce this drivel. But we’re realists, so we’re not predicting an end any time soon to that Monday morning staple, toothless campaign fluff. If even a reporter like Romano — who actually has bite the other six days of the week — can fall prey, anyone can. Looks like Monday, Monday, it’s here to stay — at least until November 2.

Susan Q. Stranahan

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

Susan Q. Stranahan wrote for CJR.