Candidates’ Plans Take a Back Seat in Meltdown Coverage

A side note to the financial meltdown, noted today in the New York Observer. The news coming out of Washington and Wall Street has blown election coverage off the map, at least temporarily:

During the week of Sept. 15-21, overall coverage of the economic crisis actually surpassed coverage of the presidential race across a broad swath of American media, according to a weekly tracking study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. It was only the second time all year that something had displaced the election as the week’s top story (the Russia-Georgia conflict was the top story the week of August 11-17).

This, as both Barack Obama and John McCain have struggled to capitalize on the crisis, each using it to bolster their respective cases for change and issuing general ideas about how they would repair markets.

But in the end, financial and business reports haven’t really cared much about how McCain and Obama would address this crisis, since it’s not them who are going to fix it:

“I think both of these campaigns are beside themselves with how—behind the scenes—how unimportant they are,” said [Steve Liesman, a senior economics reporter for CNBC]. “I got an angry note from one of McCain’s people saying, ‘McCain came out with this plan on Friday to solve the problem. …’ Like, who cares? What I care about right now is what’s going on behind closed doors across town here at Capitol Hill.”

The story this week is Congress, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke. Reporters only care about McCain and Obama insomuch as one of them, when president, will inherit a dicey economic situation — one likely neither of them had prepared for.

“How they can handle that—given that [the U.S. government] is now in the insurance, financial and housing business—is crucial,” [said Alexis Glick, the vice president of business news for the Fox Business Network and host of Money for Breakfast.] “If you’re not listening to what the next president of the United States thinks in terms of a plan or a strategy or who their economic brain trust is, you’re probably missing the boat here.”

Of course, the press might perk up if both candidates, along with Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, actually interjected themselves into crafting a solution in their roles as U.S. Senators. As it stands, McCain and Obama are scheduled to be 1,000 miles away from the action on Friday, when the bailout plan is likely to come to a vote, preparing to debate in Oxford, Miss.

It appears unlikely either will cast a “yea” or “nay” on the bailout plan.

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2 Responses

  1. The American people have zero confidence in the honesty or integrity of Congress, who are plotting our fate as we speak.

    The Candidates seek power, the office, election, with no regard for what follows other than getting the office, at this point would not risk obtaining the office for the fate of the nation, and short of that, have nothing of value to voice.

  2. […] I’ll note a a point from my blog post this morning on how the candidates, and their plans for dealing with the financial crisis, were being largely […]

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