Washington Babylon — November 1, 2007, 11:32 am

The Press Squeezes Blood From a (Campaign) Stone

“After a rare night of fumbles by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination rushed to maximize the damage yesterday, even as her advisers argued that the ‘piling on’ engaged in by an all-male field of opponents will ultimately drive more female voters into her camp,” the Washington Post breathlessly reported today in an article titled “Clinton Regroups As Rivals Pounce.” “Clinton strategists grudgingly acknowledged that the performance in Tuesday’s debate in Philadelphia was not her finest and they sought to contain the fallout.”

I love when the press tries to build excitement about the campaign with this sort of juiced up story. You’d think the Post was writing about the latest wrestling matches on Raw, not the dreary Democratic race for the presidency. Given the bland realities, I can understand the impulse but if they’re going to do it right reporters should take lessons from the masters:

“The usually unflappable Shawn Michaels lost his cool after the Chairman questioned his motivation for seeking a title match with Randy Orton. “You want revenge,” Mr. McMahon yelled. “Admit it!” HBK’s rage exploded, and he admitted that, yes, he’s absolutely hungry to sideline Orton.”

Just substitute Barack Obama for Shawn Michaels, Hillary Clinton for Randy Orton, and Tim Russert for the Chairman—now you’ve got some lively campaign copy.

To help reporters out, I’m offering a few more samples from Raw that they can employ in upcoming stories. Try it yourself and see how easy it is to cover the campaign by simply changing a few names.

You can only poke a rattlesnake so long before he bites back. As Santino Marella continued his criticism of former WWE Champion “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and his acting skills in front of the Wachovia Center crowd tonight on Raw, the familiar sound of glass breaking in The Texas Rattlesnake’s music poured from the arena speakers. The crowd went wild as “Stone Cold” appeared on the TitanTron–or so they thought. Cheers quickly turned to boos as they realized it was not Austin, but Marella in disguise–an early Halloween costume of his own.

Or this one:

Is WWE Champion Randy Orton in danger of joining his own Legends Killed list, courtesy of Shawn Michaels? If you noticed the look in HBK’s eyes Monday night on Raw when he demanded a rematch with Orton for the WWE Championship, the third-generation Superstar might want to reserve a bed alongside some of his other victims in the WWE MAS*H unit. There was something disturbingly sinister about The Showstopper when he burned a hole into Mr. McMahon and admitted he wanted more than Orton’s cherished title. Michaels unapologetically conceded he wanted to hurt the Legend Killer for trying to end his career several months ago.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2014

The End of Retirement

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Octopus and Its Grandchildren

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Francis and the Nuns

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Return of the Strongman

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“From the nerd squabbles of Internet discussion threads rose an urban legend that culminated in a film that hinges on digging through my town’s trash.”
Illustration (detail) by Timothy Taranto
Article
Return of the Strongman·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If Tunisia is where the Arab Spring began, Egypt seems poised to become its burial ground.”
Photograph (detail) © Ahmed Ismail / Getty Images
Article
The Seductive Catastrophe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The world’s leaders were moved by a populace fused into a forward phalanx, were shaken by a tidal wave of militancy jubilantly united.”
Photograph courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library
Article
Me, Myself, and Id·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The one defining trait of the narcissist is that it’s always someone else.
Painting (detail) by Gianni Dagli Orti
Post
The Many Faces of Boko·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“People want education. Open a school and they will rush.”
Photograph © The author

Average number of sitcom laughs an American hears during a prime-time season:

12,000

Czech and German deer still do not cross the Iron Curtain.

British economists correlated the happiness of a country’s population with its genetic resemblance to Danes.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today