So when longtime lobbyist and Hollywood actor Fred Thompson -- a man who once rented a red pickup truck in order to campaign in Tennessee as a man of the people -- indicated this week that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination, we knew how the media would describe him: Authentic. Folksy.Compare the rather conspicuous silence on this aspect with Fred Thompson with the scorn that has been heaped upon John Edwards for getting an expensive haircut. Both of these men come from the working class, yet John Edwards is the only one called out as a hypocrite. For Thompson, the pundits are willing to turn the other way when any incongruities are revealed. This is eerily reminiscent of Bush's campaigns in both 1999 and 2003, he got the manly man treatment from the press even though he was an east coast elite. While both John Kerry and Al Gore were treated as effete intellectuals.
Let's back up a moment: Thompson didn't even drive the rented pickup, as The Washington Monthly reported in 1996:
Finishing his talk, Thompson shakes a few hands, then walks out with the rest of the crowd to the red pickup truck he made famous during his 1994 Senate campaign. My friend stands talking with her colleagues as the senator is driven away by a blond, all-American staffer. A few minutes later, my friend gets into her car to head home. As she pulls up to the stop sign at the parking lot exit, rolling up to the intersection is Senator Thompson, now behind the wheel of a sweet silver luxury sedan. He gives my friend a slight nod as he drives past. Turning onto the main road, my friend passes the school's small, side parking area. Lo and behold: There sits the abandoned red pickup, along with the all-American staffer.
The pickup was, literally, a rented prop designed to help a wealthy actor/Washington lobbyist/trial lawyer play the role of salt-of-the-earth populist.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
A Tale of Two Southern Candidates
Yesterday, I wrote about the media love fest for actor Fred Thompson. And today, Media Matters has an interesting piece on the ways the mainstream media ignores certain traits of conservative candidates, which might paint them in an unflattering way. I thought this particular segment on Fred Thompson was interesting: