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The name game

January 30, 2008 - Rob Weaver
It’s revealing how some people use the term “media” as if it is a singular noun, as in, “It’s obvious whom the media favors in the presidential race.” It’s as if members of the various news media — TV, print and radio — get together on a regular basis to decide what to publicize and what to censor. (Chairman: “So it’s decided, no one will report on Denzel Washington’s visit to a VA facility, and we bury photos of those high-school students flying the U.S. flag upside-down. Now then, about Britney Spears. ...”) Well, here’s an industry insider’s explanation on how the Mainstream Media decide whom to endorse for president: The shortest surname wins. (Do you think Gerald Ford was a fluke?) It’s a simple concept for the print side of things. Shorter names fit better in headlines. You’d never get the name “Huckabee” in a one-column headline in anything larger than 30-point type — “Edwards” and “Kucinich” won’t work in bold type. Think about it. Names such as Bush, Clinton, Carter, Nixon and Reagan all rate a 6 or lower for those of us old enough to remember headline counts. Longer names end up as initials — FDR, JFK, LBJ — or as nicknames (the real reason we liked Ike and not Stevenson). And forget using “prez;” even the British tabloids won’t resort to that. Thus, we’re now down to Clinton and Obama on the Democratic side (Gravel would be acceptible, too). On the Republican — excuse me, GOP — side, we have McCain and Romney leading the pack. The broadcast media is in on it, too; you’ll never find an Ahmadinejad occupying the Oval Office. Reporters have to take speech lessons to pronounce such names. Now, get out there and read more about our next president, Ron Paul.


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