My Buddy, My Powell

Is there anything the political press loves more than a good mystery? Who will the candidates choose as their Veep nominees? Will Candidate A be mean to Candidate B during the debates? So many searing questions to be answered! By the press, of course!

So today brings the latest Burning Mystery to be focused on and ginned up by the media: whether Colin Powell will endorse Obama during his appearance on Meet the Press this Sunday. Such an endorsement would be, of course, the kind of juicily ironic turn of events that’s so fun to write about, since the uber-clout-wielding retired general was himself a fan favorite in the McCain Veepstakes game. And the aisle-crossing endorsement has been predicted previously, with varying degrees of validity, by many pundits, among them Zbigniew Brzezinski, Robert Novak, William Kristol, and Lawrence O’Donnell.

But now, it seems, their predictions will come true.

Or, well, maybe. (Mystery!) Andrea Mitchell, announcing the Powell-on-MTP news on the Today Show this morning, teased—but didn’t explicitly mention—the notion (Dramatic Emphasis mine):

In what promises to be a dramatic moment Sunday, Colin Powell — a lion of the Republican establishment, whom McCain and Obama both have courted for months — will finally speak out on a variety of issues, appearing exclusively on Meet the Press.

And Politico’s Mike Allen took Mitchell’s “variety of issues” one step further, explicitly spelling out the Obama endorsement rumor via input from GOP sources (Dramatic Emphasis, again, mine):

Retired Gen. Colin Powell, once considered a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), now may endorse his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), according to Republican sources. But an air of mystery surrounds Powell’s planned live appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and no one is sure what he will say.

Oooh…an air of mystery. And no one is sure what he will say. So perplexing! And, therefore, so exciting! So: Will Powell endorse? Won’t he? I guess we’ll all have to watch Meet the Press to find out! Because, of course, networks’ desire for ratings is one thing that’s never a mystery.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.