Cut No Slack

James Rainey in today’s LA Times (emphasis mine):

It seems like just about everybody has spent the last week beating up on the media for showering too much love on Barack Obama, during what John McCain’s camp derides as the Obama World Tour.

True, statistics show broadcast networks have devoted more than twice as much airtime in recent weeks to the Democrat than to the Republican.

But don’t assume that more coverage is always good coverage. Reports from the Mideast and back home in recent days have revealed that reporters were determined not to cut Obama any slack.

That’s only right.

I guess it’s good to spell it out, if only just to remind ourselves that, you know, it’s not a campaign reporter’s job to “cut” a presidential candidate “slack.” Some of us might need the reminder.

But Rainey’s real point is, as he makes clear in the next sentence, that this “cut-no-slack” approach now apparently taken by some Obama-covering reporters has, at least on Obama’s Overseas Trip, sometimes led to “shallow analysis.” Like, for instance, being “too fixated on ruminations about Obama’s presidential timbre.” What might be more worthy “analysis?” Rainey points to Katie Couric pressing Obama on why he appears, in Rainey’s words, “loath to admit the surge has helped” and suggests reporters should similarly press McCain to address “the complex reasons behind Iraq’s retreat from chaos” (complex as in not-just-surge-related).

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.