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Clinton's exit leaves news void

Media were riveted. Tom Brokaw says the coverage made it seem 'people were trying to shove her out.'

June 09, 2008|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Now that Hillary Clinton has ended her bid for the presidency, political journalists are suddenly deprived of one of their favorite stories: When is she going to drop out?

A study shows the only campaign topics that got more attention the last two months were Barack Obama's talkative former minister, the Pennsylvania primary and the fallout from President Bush's remarks about appeasement while he was in Israel.

More time was spent talking about when Clinton might call it quits than about how the candidates might deal with the war in Iraq, the high price of gasoline, home foreclosures or the sputtering economy. Or about anything that presumptive Republican nominee John McCain said or did during April and May, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's analysis of political coverage in newspapers, on Internet sites and on television news.

This doesn't even count the frenzied days after the Iowa caucuses in January, when there was so much media discussion about whether Clinton's campaign would end if she didn't win in New Hampshire that many experts believe a backlash against it was a factor in her victory.

The coverage embittered the Clinton campaign and, in the eyes of one veteran journalist, should provoke some soul-searching.

"It was inappropriate, for journalists especially, to try to cut the process short," said former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw. "It was an appropriate issue for people to report on, in context, but there was an awful lot of commentary disguised as reporting that gave the impression that people were trying to shove her out of the race."

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