The media are ramping up for a weeklong ‘event’ covering Sen. Barack
Obama’s tour of the Middle East and Europe. He may have snuck out on
Saturday morning, but reporters and camera crews have either caught up
with him, or are packing and heading that way. The major network
anchors will be hosting the evening news all week from Obama’s current
location.

Some media critics are already calling it a circus. Like Howard Kurtz just did on CNN with Lou Dobbs. Which is a continuation of what Kurtz said a couple of days ago on another program.

CNN personalities Jack Cafferty and Howard Kurtz made a
sudden confession of the mainstream media’s imbalanced coverage of
Barack Obama versus John McCain on Thursday’s “The Situation Room.”
First, in his 5 pm Eastern hour “The Cafferty File,” Cafferty labeled
the media’s planned coverage of Obama’s first overseas trip since
becoming the presumptive nominee an “extravaganza.”

It will be dramatic.

Besides giving the details of the major differences in coverage between the two presumptive presidential candidates,

they noticed?

Cafferty gave the scope of the demand in the mainstream
media to cover Obama’s trip overseas: “All three broadcast network
anchors will join him, broadcasting their nightly newscasts from stops
along his route. Also along, to record Obama’s every move, are top
political reporters from major newspapers and magazines all over the
country. Two hundred journalists requested to accompany Obama on the
trip. But the campaign says they’re only going to be able to
accommodate about 20 percent of that number, or around 40 or so.”

Then Kurtz weighed in:

Of course, it’s always big news when a presumed
presidential nominee travels abroad, right? Wrong — John McCain has
taken three trips abroad to Europe, the Middle East, Canada, Colombia,
and Mexico in the last four months. No anchors tagged along. In fact,
some broadcast and cable networks didn’t even send correspondents on
some of these trips. The imbalance doesn’t end there. Obama has
received more than twice as much air time as McCain on the network
evening newscasts since last month, although more coverage doesn’t
always mean positive coverage. Obama, who is on the cover of Newsweek
again this week, has been on Time or Newsweek’s cover a dozen times in
the last three years, more than twice the amount of McCain. And in some
venues, Obama and his wife Michelle on the cover of Us Weekly, Obama
and his family on Access Hollywood. It’s not even close.

This is stating the obvious. But few are stating it besides these guys.

With Obama expected to draw big crowds in Europe next
week, McCain may struggle to stay in the headlines. Now, journalists
say much of this is driven by the novelty factor. Obama is a new player
on the world stage, while McCain has been making international trips
for decades. But at what point does that become unfair?

It already is. At what point will it matter?

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....