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The Charisma Machine

What the media mistakes about itself and Obama.

12:00 AM, Jun 11, 2008 • By NOEMIE EMERY
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4. Then, there's the matter of media power, or lack thereof. But since Obama peaked on February 19, when he won Wisconsin at the end of his 11-state winning streak, the media's efforts on his behalf have seemed counter-productive at best. In effect, the full flowering of the media's intense crush on Barack Obama coincided with the resurgence of Hillary Clinton, and may even have fueled it, as overkill tends to get on one's nerves. From February 19 on, Obama went into a series of tailspins, losing big states and swing states by big--blowout--margins. "The more the media told Hillary she was toast the more Democrats insisted on voting for her," observes Mark Steyn correctly. "On the strength of Chris Matthews's vibrating calves, Mr. Obama raised a ton of money and massively outspent Mrs. Clinton, but he didn't really get any bang for its buck." Obama finally wheezed over the finish line, saved by the delegates he piled up in caucuses and in small states when no one was looking, before the press had the chance to weigh in with its magic. The press may love itself--and Obama--just a little too much.

When John Kennedy died, Joseph Alsop wrote that Washington was filled with "male widows," and that he too was one of them. Obama isn't president (yet), but he has more than his share of male concubines, who are starting to embarrass themselves (and their readers) with a slavish devotion that is only too evident. They are "at that stage in the ad where the announcer warns that, if leg tingles persist for more than six months, see your doctor," as Steyn advises. Chris Matthews, Newsweek, and now Mr. Halperin, should seek out their doctors, and fast.

Noemie Emery is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.