McCain Visit Gets Perfunctory Coverage vs. Obama, Richardson Swooping in to Grab Headlines, Udall Who? (Update 2X)

Well, what a difference a candidate makes….

Back in May, the news of Obama’s visit on Memorial Day was greeted with several days of banner headlines across the top of the local paper, The Las Cruces Sun-News.  It even gave front page status to the visit to ABQ by Obama this past Monday which focused on immigration reform.

Over the last couple of days, we’ve seen small articles about McCain’s visit at the bottom right of the front page…no banner headlines, for sure.  In an area full of active and retired military personnel, the low-key coverage has been surprising.

Now, I’m not a McCain fan, but fair is fair. Unless, the Sun-News is doing what so much of the media is doing…setting up Obama for a fall. The Sun-News seems to be a fan of Republicans in most of their news coverage, although they will occasionally endorse Democrats in local races.

The coverage of the event seems limited so far on the web. An early story (7:36 am) via the El Paso Times which described McCain’s arrival in El Paso also reported that as soon as McCain touched down there, NM Democratic Party leaders revealed that they had organized an 11 AM protest across from the venue. There’s a 3:19  piece by the local reporter.  Then there is a video of the townhall…sort of.  McCain was introduced as being “ready from day one” to be President, and, in his opening remarks, he hit Obama for not “being with him today” to debate issues as well as acknowledging the Olympic win in wrestling by Henry Cejudo, who grew up in Las Cruces. Here’s the web story:

McCain speaks to hundreds at NMSU (3:19 p.m.)

Watching the opening moments of the event, I can tell you that McCain was quite energetic, speaking quickly and directly and moving easily around the stage, with about 5 rows of risers on all sides of him.

In his opening remarks he spent a great deal of time on the situation in Georgia and as he was going into the background of the conflict, guess what?  The video ENDED.  How come? After all, Obama’s entire event was shown!

Oh, but the Sun-News did provide an “interview” held after the event on the fly, which was audio only, and bad audio at that. Barely audible in spots.  The topic was about Georgia and the Russian’s “being back” and that, too, ended abruptly. At least 30 seconds of the 3 minute clip was just noise.

What a contrast to the coverage and video devoted to Obama!

There was also an AP story up at the Sun-News site, but that seemed to disappear early this evening.

Just for the fun of it, I checked out the El Paso Times coverage of the event on the web. It picked up a longer version of the AP story:

While in Las Cruces, John McCain criticizes Obama on Iraq

The story included this one question from a voter, a question about McCain’s potential VP:

One voter asked, “Are you going to pick a vice president that conservatives can rally around in the future, or are you going to give us someone that is going to make us want to stay home?”

McCain responded, “I will nominate a person to be vice president, my running mate, who shares my principles, my values and my priorities.”

And where was El Paso Times Online Editor Jay Koester, who breathlessly blogged from the Obama event and gave himself away as an Obama groupie?  No where to be found when it came to the McCain event!  It was a morning event, so he had all day to write something…but so far, nothing.

We’ll have to see how much ink the event gets in tomorrow’s print edition of the Sun-News. But Bill Richardson is coming to town tomorrow to announce the site of the new state veterans’ museum (and the speculation is it will be here in LC), a convenient way to grab the headlines away from McCain…We’ll see!

UPDATE 1 Thursday AM, August 21, 2008

Well, the print version of today’s Sun-News gave McCain a two column header–“Straight Talk” and the Richardson appearance was at the top right. Obama’s “pre-visit” hype was a 2 days of full banners across the top!!  The story was a combination of local and AP reporting.

Under the headline there was a pic of McCain at the town, with smaller headline underneath reading “McCain rolls into Las Cruces,” with a smaller pick of a student asking a question.  The story continued on page 8A and included one question from the audience from a woman who took her husband to Spain for treatment of a brain disease. She asked: “Why did I have to take him somewhere else so he could die in a better place tha in his own country?”  McCain answered that he thought the health care system needed to be “revamped” but that a government-run system wold do better.”  A small picture of the protesters (NMSU Aggies “heart” Obama”) along with a man holding a McCain tee-shirt accompanied the story.  A side-story, “McCain Praises U.S.-Mexico Cooperation on Combating Drug Trade” was on the left of the page.

At the Sun-News website, video of the entire even went up to accompany the print edition story along with a small photo gallery of about 18 pictures.

Over at the El Paso Times website, the paper ran the same story that was printed in the Sun-News.  No sign of any comment by blogger Jay Koester, however.


Much less pre-visit hype compared to what was given to Obama;

No comments from people who attended the event;

Heavy reliance on the AP reports for the details;

No live blogging from Jay Koester of the El Paso Times;

OVERALL IMPRESSION–less space given to McCain.  And the story was treated in a much more ordinary manner, typical of most visits from politicians.  There was certainly none of the breathless hype that went along with the Obama visit in May.

You can see my posts from the Obama visit in the archives. Look for posts dated May 23, 25, 26, and 28.



Buried so deep in the second section of today’s Sun-News that I almost missed it, a little squib about  Democratic Senate candidate Tom Udall holding a “meet and greet” at a school and a townhall meeting tonight.  Who knew??? Either his advance people are really bad OR the Sun-News deliberately squelched that info.  Even if there was very little info, couldn’t it have been attached as a sidebar to the McCain coverage?  His opponent Steve Pearce has sign up already all over town and has been the House Rep. from this district for two terms.  Although Democrats hold most local seats, this district is (and CD-1 and 1 Senate seat) are Republican holds.  (And with folks like Sen. Bingaman and Richardson in office, you could argue that real Democrats are hard to find in NM.)