“Being Media Savvy Requires More Than Just Attention-Grabbing”?

Does it?

From Mark Leibovich’s profile of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), “Darrell Issa Emerges as Obama’s Annoyer-in-Chief” in today’s New York Times:

“Getting oxygen is hard when you’re in the minority,” said former Representative Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia. “You have to create conflict. The press likes that.”

The press loves Darrell Issa. The feeling is mutual — and co-dependent. He is a tireless publicity-seeker with a game-show-host smile and a Bluetooth affixed to his ear…

The boom in cable and online media has created a bottomless need for the gusher of news releases issued by Mr. Issa’s irrepressible spokesman and Mini-Me, Kurt Bardella…

But being media savvy requires more than just attention-grabbing. Mr. Issa’s colleagues say he has an eye for resonant issues. “Darrell has a keen sense of how to dig out issues that should be looked at,” said Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Republican of Wisconsin.

Mr. Issa calls himself a Reagan Republican, but his true compass these days seems to be whatever gets under the administration’s skin — and gets him on television…

…which gets him profiled in the Times (for his “attention-grabbing.”) Issa is, Leibovich writes, “depending on the point of view, an invaluable gadfly or an insufferable grandstander.” Too bad the reader doesn’t get enough information (more on what Issa “has been shouting forth on matters high-profile…and obscure”) to form an opinion on that. Meet the “Annoyer-in-Chief!” (Don’t worry about those things he is annoying the White House about and whether his beefs have any beef.)

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

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.