The Campaign Spot

Media: We Won’t Get Gulf Fatigue

This morning I’m at the mercy of domestic air travel, but the Jolt will be coming along shortly to subscribers. (So subscribe already; I know about a thousand of you subscribe to the weekly Goldberg File but don’t subscribe to Morning Jolt! Chaka is flogged every time something goes wrong with delivery!)

Obviously, tonight will be a long, blogging-heavy night, keeping up with incoming results from California, Nevada, South Carolina, Arkansas runoffs, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Virginia.

In the interim, a taste of today’s offering:

[On the response to the oil spill,] Democrats are being forced to acknowledge that the federal government — with their party in charge — is falling far short of their expectations: “Criticism of the government and BP crosses party lines and spans the country. The Democratic discontent with the government’s response today — 56 percent give it low marks — contrasts with majority GOP support for federal efforts a few weeks after Katrina stuck in 2005.”

ABC gives more detail: “There’s partisanship in views of the federal response, with Democrats less critical of the Democratic-led government. Nonetheless, even among Democrats, 56 percent rate the federal response negatively. That rises to 74 percent of independents and 81 percent of Republicans. Partisanship ran in precisely the opposite direction in views of the Katrina response under the Bush administration. Just 41 percent of Republicans rated that response negatively, compared to 64 percent of independents and 79 percent of Democrats.”

I look at those numbers and note that independents are only a little less disappointed with the federal government response to this crisis than to the last one. And this one may go on for a long while.

Here’s a fascinating anecdote from Broadcasting & Cable:Broadcasting & Cable’s Marisa Guthrie spoke to a number of news executives, producers and corespondents, all of whom say they will be committed to covering the story . . . even when the news cycle has moved on (Supreme Court nomination hearings anyone?) “I don’t think we’re going to have Gulf fatigue in the next three or four weeks,” says Bob Epstein, executive producer of NBC Nightly News. “It’s only getting worse.” One of the things that could keep the story in the news cycle is the relatively low cost of covering it. Unlike the earthquake in Haiti, which cost news divisions millions in transportation and logistics, covering the oil spill is a lower-cost affair. Guthrie notes that “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams did his part by flying all-coach airline JetBlue.”

The Obama administration faces a problem where they have no handy solutions, no quick fixes, and no ability to push this issue out of the public eye.


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