Ed Driscoll

Anchors Away

The International Herald Tribune (aka, the road show edition of the New York Times reports, “Media stars will accompany Obama overseas“:

Senator John McCain’s trip to Iraq last spring was a low-key affair: With his ordinary retinue of reporters following him abroad, the NBC News anchor Brian Williams reported on his arrival in Baghdad from New York, with just two sentences tacked onto the “in other political news” portion of his newscast.

But when Obama heads for Iraq and other locations overseas this summer, Williams is planning to catch up with him in person, as are the other two evening news anchors, Charles Gibson of ABC and Katie Couric of CBS, who, like Williams, are far along in discussions to interview Obama on successive nights.

And while the anchors are jockeying for interviews with Obama at stops along his route, the regulars on the Obama campaign plane will have new seat mates: star political reporters from the major newspapers and magazines who are flocking to catch Obama’s first overseas trip since becoming the presumptive nominee of his party.

The extraordinary coverage of Obama’s trip reflects how the candidate remains an object of fascination in the news media, a built-in feature of being the first African-American presidential nominee for a major political party and a relative newcomer to the national stage.

But the coverage also feeds into concerns in McCain’s campaign, and among Republicans in general, that the media is imbalanced in their coverage of the candidates, just as aides to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton felt during the primary season.

Media bias in the presidential race? Say it ain’t so, Katie! Say it ain’t so!

Update: Roger L. Simon has a schadenfreudinistic angle on the trip: “Poor Dan, deprived of a junket like this by a bunch of bloggers.” You can hear my interview this week with one of the key bloggers who helped to retire Dan Rather’s flak jacket, here.