Scott and John do most of the original reporting on Power Line, but once in while I get my hands on something big. Rarely have I come up with anything bigger than this confidential memorandum from the chief of an unnamed news network regarding how his organization will cover the Republican National Convention. Here’s the memo in its entirety:
From: XXXXXXX XXXXX, III
To: YYY’s Republican Convention Coverage Team
Re: Fair and balanced coverage
We all know that network news coverage of national conventions has come in for severe criticism in recent years. While no one expects gavel-to-gavel coverage anymore, we’ve been accused of superficial and insufficient coverage, and of refusing to allow the parties to tell their story in their words before we pounce.
This year’s Republican convention provides us with a golden opportunity to restore our convention coverage to its former glory. If we handle things properly, and follow the guidance set forth below for each day of the convention, we can give the Republicans all the air time they want while still providing our viewers with the real story of the convention.
Bush will be speaking on Monday and it is imperative that he dominate our coverage. After all, we do not wish to be accused of paying insufficient attention to the sitting president. What I’m saying is that Monday should be all Bush, all the time.
Several themes need to be teased out. One is that this is still Bush’s party. Thus, we need to capture the raw enthusiasm that some delegates no doubt will exhibit for Bush. Look for such delegates. Top priority should go to “large” delegates and delegates who are wearing McCain buttons and/or hats. Viewers should confront the very real prospect that McCain will give them a third Bush term.
Bush’s speech will no doubt be a defense of his administration. Though few viewers will be duped, this is our opportunity to do some real reporting. I’ve thus authorized two exclusive video presentations that will air prior to Bush’s speech; (1) the history of the Iraq War: 2004-2006 and (2) the Bush economy: 2001 and 2008.
With Bush out of the way, Republicans will turn to what they do best — bashing the opposition. The heavy guns will be trained on Obama and it will become imperative that we capture the raw hatred, and dare I say envy, that the delegates will manifest. Close-up shots and interviews with the meanest looking (and “largest”) delegates are strongly encouraged. If a delegate seems too restrained, pose well-phrased questions such as: “Are you bothered by the fact that Obama doesn’t look like the presidents on our paper money?” and “Do you think an Obama presidency will restore our image overseas?”
It is not our place, of course, to attribute the rabid hatred these delegates feel towards Obama to race. But viewers may be able to connect the dots if we intersperse our coverage with film clips of Bull Connor, old-time Alabama state troopers (preferably “large”), and the hosing and beating of black protesters in the early 1960s.
On Wednesday, the focus will finally be on McCain. May I suggest that emerging theme here should be the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the overwhelmingly right-wing delegates for this once-moderate, formerly independent-thinking candidate? Look for evangelical delegates (especially “large” ones) and for delegates wearing buttons or hats with other candidates’ names like Huckabee, Romney and above all, Ron Paul. If a moderate like Tom Ridge speaks, this will be our opportunity to return to the gavel-to-gavel, speaker-oriented model, with frequent shots of bored or pissed-off delegates.
I’ve also contacted ZZZ ZZZZZZZZ, who covered every convention for us from 1952 through 2000. Though a rather long-in-the-tooth, he’s still a trooper and can be counted on to report that he’s never seen a convention less enthusiastic about its nominee.
This is when McCain gives his “acceptance” speech. This is the kind of boring set piece that gives convention coverage a bad name. Still, we’re obliged to cover it. We owe our viewers “context,” however. To provide it, we will replay Obama’s acceptance speech twice, once before McCain’s and once after. This will enable viewers to decide for themselves which candidate is fresher and more eloquent.
We may also have to cut away from McCain’s speech once or twice. Real Salt Lake is playing Chivas USA that night in a huge Major League Soccer match.
The past two Republican conventions have produced a not inconsiderable bounce for the GOP. This has given rise to plausible charges that our coverage has been slanted in favor of the Republicans. By following the principles set forth above, we can do our best to make sure that there is no bounce, and hence no bias in our coverage.
UPDATE: For those of you who didn’t read all the way to the Major League Soccer reference, this is something I made up as a joke. It does have the ring of truth, though, doesn’t it?
JOHN adds: It’s a sign of good satire when you aren’t quite sure whether it’s for real. I thought Paul’s post was hilarious, but the astute AllahPundit took it seriously, although he expressed skepticism. An assistant editor for a major metropolitan daily newspaper wrote to ask whether it was for real. A number of readers thought it was, and emailed us to express outrage. Even Scott, truth be told, wasn’t entirely certain until he got to the part about cutting away for live soccer. (Speaking of which, are those soccer teams for real, or are they made up too? Beats me.)
The moral of the story, I guess, is that the mainstream media have gotten so outrageously biased that they are hard to parody.
PAUL adds: It’s probably a good thing that I attempt parody only once every few years. My last effort, as far as I can recall, was in January 2005.
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