Howie Kurtz makes an odd observation:
Fox just cut away from the [Howard Dean] speech after a few minutes. So did CNN. And, boom, there goes MSNBC. So much for the idea that the Democratic presidential front-runner should get equal time with George Bush, whose 45-minute news conference was carried in full. For all the coverage devoted to Dean, don’t we deserve to hear his views for a few more minutes?
Well, no. A live news conference from a wartime commander-in-chief–let alone a day after a huge event in that war–naturally garners more interest than a guy who may or may not become the opposition party nominee in eight months. So far, Dean is the presumptive frontrunner by virtue of his surprising fundraising prowess and standing in the polls–but not a single delegate has been allocated.
As we get closer to the election, that will gradually change. Bush’s speeches will eventually be considered “optional” for the networks, fearing that they’ll get duped into giving free time for electioneering. And the Democratic nominee will become, by definition, newsworthy. There’s nothing sinister about this; it’s the way it’s as long as I can recall.