Last week when President Obama appeared on five Sunday morning public affairs shows, the media went crazy wondering whether he was risking “overexposure.” (Of course, Obama’s aggressive communications push on health care came after weeks of criticism from reporters that he wasn’t visible enough.)
Americans aren’t sick of hearing from their president. A new poll shows that only 34 percent of the public believes they are hearing “too much” from Obama; 54 percent say they are hearing “about the right amount.”
The person who does seem to be getting an inordinate amount of exposure is defeated presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). ABC’s This Week host George Stephanopoulos is pumping an “EXCLUSIVE” interview he has scored with the senator this week. But as Steve Benen points out, it’s not really all that exclusive:
For those keeping score at home, this will be McCain’s 13th Sunday morning appearance since President Obama’s inauguration in January. That’s 36 Sundays, for an average of a McCain appearance every 2.7 weeks.
Since the president took office, McCain has been on “Meet the Press” twice (July 12 and March 29), “Face the Nation” three times (August 30, April 26, and February 8), CNN’s “State of the Union” twice (August 2 and February 15), and “Fox News Sunday” three times (July 2, March 8, and January 25). His appearance on “This Week” on Sunday will be his third visit in five months (September 27, August 23, and May 10).
That’s a lot of appearances for someone who isn’t the president or part of the congressional Republican leadership. This latest round of hyperventilating isn’t the first time the media has criticized the President for taking his message to the public (through the media). In March, journalists and pundits wondered whether Obama’s “media tour” was taking “attention away from his message” on the economy. Ironically, one of the pundits joining in was Meghan McCain:
KING: Over exposure?
McCAIN: I think he is on the verge of it. I do think you have to be careful. But it is a different generation. You know, mine, the generation of YouTube and Twitter and MySpace and we like our celebrities. … However, he is on the risk of alienating his older followers.
According to Eric Boehlert at Media Matters, after Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) lost to President Bush, he made just three appearances on the five major Sunday news talk shows in the first eight months of 2005.
Greg Sargent contacted Stephanopoulos about having McCain on again, and he responded:
Our show this week is focused on Afghanistan and foreign policy. Our lead guest is the President’s Defense Secretary (after a week where the President was our only guest). McCain is the leading GOP voice on Afghanistan. We think it’s important for our viewers to hear that perspective…For a show focusing on Afghanistan, he is easily the right GOP guest. No apologies for inviting him.