Recently returned from South America, I checked up on a local news source that I visited in Argentina (I’d link but its all in Spanish), only to alarm myself with the news of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and his threat to America via expelling our ambassador and threatening to shut off oil supply. As an average American, I took it seriously, but was very appalled by the fact that it was not even noticeable in the New York Times or on CNN. In my opinion, this is serious news that should put a halt to the elections, for at least a few hours if not for the day.

Well, here’s my biased view of the day, so be warned.

Joe Biden made a comment at a campaign spot in Columbia, Missouri, supposively geared towards Sarah Palin and her five-year old daughter, reading: “I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both the joy … and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect…Well, guess what, folks? If you care about it, why don’t you support stem cell research?”

This was followed harshly in a McCain statement: “Barack Obama’s running mate sunk to a new low today, launching an offensive debate over who cares more about special needs children. Playing politics with this issue is disturbing and indicative of a desperate campaign.”

To me, this is completely ridiculous on McCain’s part, mostly in releasing this kind of statement, but also in reacting in this kind of harsh way towards anything (supposedly) thrown at Palin. Calling Biden’s comments “disturbing” is very incorrect, whether his comments were about Palin or not. And although I am not an expert on stem cell research, nevertheless this kind of response to what seems like a very light attack on Palin — if an attack at all –is totally uncalled for.

Plus, the last time I checked, candidates can question each-other’s policies.

This also raises a greater point — it seems that the Republicans are sending running mate Sarah Palin into the press and at the Democrats in the form of an attack “Pitt Bull” who can throw out harsh attacks and lies, in such a relentless fashion. And now that she may have been attacked back, in a fraction of what Palin has thrown at the Democrats, the McCain campaign reacts in the form of: “What are you doing? This isn’t allowed!”

It doesn’t work like that. First off, Palin has made many skeptical remarks, changed her stance on many things including the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” remark, and most of all, attacked the Democrats’ policies as well as character in a very harsh way, and she must realize that just like she would do, the Democrats will make their case on why she is wrong. And because of this, she can’t react like she just found proof that Obama is a Muslim every time the left tries to tell the world that she may be wrong.

Secondly, you can’t just jump off the grid, already starting a press wildfire inside itself, and fire back this harshly whenever any form of point or questioning is geared towards you. It’s as simple as that.

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You know chaos is imminent when a major celebrity media giant pulls a hit and run on politics’ hottest story.

US weekly recently took it too far — the rumor-first celebrity gossip magazine stumbled into the political ring, taking with then millions of loyal subscribers into a media they had never before ventured in. The magazine put up a clearly biased cover story of Sarah Palin, getting hammered by everyone from base-bloggers to the heavy hitters.                                                  (picture and caption not created by author)

What does this really show? And why did US Weekly decide to pull this off? In my opinion, the magazine forgot how much of an influence they were and got carried away, setting off bias and sexism accusations and even an official boycott.

But although Palin may be politically incorrect and in a PR sway at the moment, a clear bias like this not just hits hard on deep based Palin supporters, but struck a nerve on most everyone who has a computer or a television. And this is why US really got slammed — they made a simple miscalculation, guessing that Palin would be “done and over with” a week after the article was written (when the actual magazine hit the shelves).

So because of this, US Weekly’s “miscalculation” as catapulted into a nightmare, and the rest of the world will decide if they want to throw in the coupe-de-grace.

Sarah Palin came out of the dark in her breakout speech at tonight’s Republican convention, removing any doubt that she was shy and unprepared — delivering (in my opinion) a speech more of attack than proposals, strike rather than progress. But then again, her speech, attack-dog or not, was something the Republican’s desperately needed in an already-short handed convention.

So I give you two views, the first of a center left kid from Los Angeles, aged 13, and the second from a man high in the ranks at the moment, Senator John McCain.

 My liberal point of view is somewhat centered around a quote from one of CNN’s analysts, reading: “As a democrat, I am overjoyed with Sarah Palin running for Vice President, and as an American, I am horrified.” The quote refers to the very strong concern across the political board that John McCain is older than most and has hasn’t exactly spent his whole life in a comfortable Washington swivel chair, and if anything happened to him while in office, Sarah Palin cannot and (hopefully) will not be president of the United States, and leader of the free world.   
And although I am far from agreement with the senator, I know him. And although he will not succeed in brining up our nation as much as Barack Obama can, I know what and how John McCain will carry out his presidency. And on the other hand, not only do I not know who Sarah Palin is, other than a hockey mom and mayor of an Alaskan town smaller than many Los Angeles public schools, I do not have a clue what she will want to do as the president of the United States. 

And because of this, it is why she chooses to attack the democrats with such sure-mindedness and aggression that I feel threatened as an American to listen to a person who has a chance to be our next leader. And regardless of how taken out of context and misleading her accusations are, I can’t turn on the television and see her talking that my head keeps ringing and flashing me forward to Sarah Palin’s United States of America. 

Now switch parties, and climb up the rickety latter of politics to the top of the beanstalk. Here you have John McCain, a patriot and lover of his country. And how sweet it is. Although his running mate is soaking up all the news and media, she has corralled all his fans and expanded his campaign’s horizon to new future voters. His dream is starting to click together, and he knows it is only a matter of time until the election kicks off, and he once again will become the spotlight, and battle it out the good old way — in a debate with his opponent. 

He loves that the democratic press is comparing his running mate with the opposing presidential candidate, and knows that the way forward may sometimes be staying steady and soaking up the news attention. Although his convention has been reduced from a party to a business-only event, McCain has made up for loss press with his flashy running mate, Sarah Palin. But again, he knows that when the time comes, he will take charge. 

So with this campaign and its news buzz, both my view and McCain’s have been shared, kept, and used for both attack and defense, but only the rest of the nation will decide which will represent and lead the United States.

After releasing his latest ad: “No Change“, many are questioning candidate Barack Obama’s lack of criticism toward opposing vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, who (let’s not forget) has posed as a giant target for almost every American democrat lately. 

But is this really true? I disagree.

In dissent, Sarah Palin is truly a tough target to hit in many ways, no matter how large of a dart-board she looks right to your average political commentator. This problem, in a primitive sense, is similar to ‘telling on’ a teacher’s pet, no matter how guilty they may be. The liberal press (or the press at all) can report all they want on Palin’s troopergate scandal, but if Obama takes a shot at it, it will most likely backfire as a sign of weakness or rage, similar to Hillary Clinton’s “Change You Can Xerox” remarks, ending in harsh boos. 

And who is the teacher — blocking all of these would be Obama talking points, you may ask. 

Its actually a hybrid of John McCain, the army of conservative bloggers and youtuber’s, and to stir it all up, Hurricane Gustav and its effect on the GOP convention. This three headed press monster strikes in more places than one, and is designed specifically to rebound any Democratic attacks.

First, John McCain, who chose Palin as his running mate, has chosen a move thought to be defensive to many liberals but in truth very effective, in his act of “taking off his party hat” and undressing the festivities of the GOP convention in the wake of hurricane Gustav. But by doing this, McCain has also created an Obama trap. 

If the liberals try to take any kind of shot at the Republicans, the Right Wing will be able to not only defend themselves in a political way, but then question their relentless attacks in a time of crisis (referring to hurricane Gustav). 

So while nothing official can happen between both parties for now, the McCain camp will have this week’s victory, both letting the press flood away any news stories about Obama’s speech with news of the hurricane and sending some sort of political point out of his convention.

Meanwhile, the third and last head of the press monster (behind McCain and hurricane Gustav) is the conservative “www” army, flooding blogs everywhere and taking up mostly all youtube comment sections under Obama videos. Although this kind of attack, below, is not official to the McCain camp, it poses a huge scary reminder to the democratic senator of how many devout McCain supports are willing to relentlessly attack everywhere on the public web, no matter how badly they would fair in a debate with each other. Although Obama may know more about the web than his opponent, with campaign accounts everywhere filled with conservative spam messages and attacks, he just may have to admit loss in this category.

So as Sarah Palin keeps letting out attack points, from her Troopergate scandal to her 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy, she is merely bait for McCain’s press monster to trap Obama in a whirlwind of backfiring remarks.

My advice for Obama? Stay out of the spotlight for a week, and then, when the storm comes to a close, make up for lost time with more than one attack ad.

After a long string of politics, I took cover by way of the local AMC, but in the end, I couldn’t escape what continues to surround me as well as everyone else — politics. 

No, this time it wasn’t Wolf Blitzer or a fiery Fox anchor, but a dose of something rare – an American citizen who just let it slip. It was actually the most exciting part of the movie, (Traitor), and the film hadn’t started yet.

After a quite loud tribute to the soldiers overseas wearing the red, white, and blue via song by Kid Rock (somehow with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. thrown into it) a sole man seated across from me booed. 

It wasn’t a scream, but it had meaning to it. Received almost exactly to the contrary by a enraged man in the row behind, the disagreement turned into a full-fledged political debate — all we needed now was Ralph Nater to show up.

And then there was me. From the outer shell, the innocent thirteen year old sitting with a friend for the sole purpose of enjoying a movie. But then here I was — the partisan, sometimes non partisan political blogger who is regularly mistaken for someone decades older. And that person, the late twenties or early thirties political mojo would almost certainly jump in, maybe even throw in a little dose of Anderson Cooper while they were at it. But no, of course not. I’m a kid. So I sat down. 

Eventually the two men were calmed down by some security and the whole thing was over with, but the buzz in the movie theater was still alive. The previews rolled on and the movie started, which was conveniently centered around terrorism, hardly a theme that suited the previous argument. 

So I didn’t move a muscle. Why? Certainly a highly opinionated and politically immersed person like me would have a voice, and this was definitely a time to show it. But in the end, until I grow over 5’10, lose my braces and higher-pitched voice, I would look like your average kid, associated with anything your average stereotypical annoying thirteen-year old would be connected with. But connect me with a pen and paper, and its a different world.

Another reason by blogging is the new media.

At last night’s day two of the Democratic Convention, with millions of eyes watching, Senator Hillary Clinton delivered the speech destined to come — her complete and sincere backing of Barack Obama. Saving her from stealing die-hard delegates and once again making herself known as “running against” Obama, Clinton’s speech made it very bold and clear from the start that she was for Obama. 

But what really made the speech stand out was the fact that it went straight to the point. Clinton and her team knew her role and didn’t overshoot it, which proved my expectations wrong. She shot right to the point after a very short (and rather disappointing) introduction by her daughter with the repetition speech strategy that both she and Obama share, addressing the overall point of: “I speak to you as a mother, a senator, an American, and a supporter of Barack Obama.” 

The long awaited speech was both executed perfectly, but also added its own dose of fun as well (the sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits remark) that even got Obama to laugh. So for what purpose did this speech really pose? It was a mere reminder of Obama’s Thursday speech that gets more important by the hour.

Of the many political bullets a successful politician can dodge, cameras and press aren’t one of them.

After catching wind of Obama admitting he has made his choice for Vice President, one might fall victim of the far-well too known knack of the media to ride the ‘this just in’ wave, confusing the hailed politician with an entertainment star. It seems like Newsweek and Hello magazine are recently starting to integrate with Obama-like news, which could ultimately make one of his worst fears come true — becoming a celebrity. Many, including the republican nominee John McCain, have accused the senator of soaking up the celebrity life, comparing Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. And as this realization becomes closer and closer to Obama, there is really only one thing to do…deal with it. 

As Obama travels the globe, he will be swarmed by a mix of the media’s camera flashes and smiling fans, and he simply can’t get rid of only one. Both will follow him around like a loyal pet, and showing any frustration to this can and will backfire at him, which will send the right wing press (including McCain) into a full-fledged field day. So accepting this recent stardom may be a hard thing to do, but it will be the best choice for the senator long-term. 

So how exactly can this be carried out without ending in disaster? After arousing enough news sources with his vice president cliffhanger, Obama will have to try to sole this frenzy by delivering an “end — all” speech with his running mate this Saturday. Hopefully for the senator, after this chapter in his campaign finishes, the media can switch their attention to John McCain’s vice president fiasco. I’m sure the public (and the democrats) would like some more wind about Sarah Palin’s bid…

Lets face it — America loves the comeback kid. Simply, we love to read about the guy who was once bad and now is good. If they reconstructed their life, they have a story. And in a sense — that’s what makes us great — we give second chances, and people who accept that have another chance. But this is something that goes beyond the television, beyond the newspapers — behind the scenes. This is what saves the day for the rich and famous, celebrity and nutty. And finally, this is what gives the genius PR guy his well-earned week’s pay.

Growing in the new age of media, I can spot a PR stunt when I see one. It can be flawlessly pulled off, and it can be failed. In theory, to pull of a public relations job really just needs to fit a common narrative. If its viable to the American public, then it can be done. PR guys can really save the reputations of anyone on the public map. A common example of a PR stunt on the political side would be the tell-tail story of Jenna Bush. The daughter of the president of the US, a tipsy, parting Jenna was busted for underage drinking and was completely demolished by the press. 

Then she disappears. 

Barely any information comes up about her in months. But no one wonders where she went. The media always has other things to report, and they carried on with that. During that time, Bush slowly created an instant resume, re-building her reputation off the air. Then she suddenly comes back into the press, and come back with a bang. She is suddenly a new person — cleaned up and engaged. She took trips overseas to Africa, came back with humanitarian street ‘cred, had a stint teaching unprivileged inner city children, wrote a book about HIV AIDS with a first run of 500,000 copies, and goes on a book tour. During that time she stayed completely out of clubs and the media, denouncing herself from a household name to a lesser status. Then she came back with a bang, made herself a hit in the media , and set up a very press-worty future — a book tour that the NY times correctly identified as a media blitz. 

What was pulled off here was not only a true PR stunt, but a successful one as well. Why? It covered all a stunt like this should have. What a true PR genius must do before starting his plan is a recognition of the hurdles he must tackle. Whoever constructed this plot obviously knew that the public would not forget the underage drinking if it wasn’t taken care of. So he/she took this into consideration when constructing Jenna’s new life. And because of this, the book that Jenna wrote not only cleaned up her resume, but it really was the coupe-de-grace of the whole stunt. 

Another great example of a PR stunt on the entertainment side is celebrity Paris Hilton. Hilton was really a victim of her own choices, and that dug her deep into a hole that was very tough to escape. After a sting of events that all ended up all of the internet, and sometimes backfiring at her — the media had a field day slamming her down. She: (in just some of her faults) released a horrific album that bombed the charts, got arrested and convicted for DUI, had a great deal of crying that happened all be on national TV, got any last bit of self esteem snatched from her a the VMA’s by Sarah Silverman, went to jail, got that famous mugshot, and then as a coming out party, had a disaster of a Larry King interview. By that time, she was in trouble. Another blow would be a definite KO for her, and she knew it. 

Enter the dragon, or as I would call him — the PR guy. With his/her aid, Paris took the tactics of many before her and took months off, both rebuilding and letting the press forget about her. And in a sense, they did. 

Then, after John McCain took a swipe at Obama as well as her with his campaign ad — she pounced, fully charged and ready. She struck back with her response commercial, and at the same time took a decisive step back into the fiery realm of the media. Her commercial was both funny and accurate, but most of all it was genius. She knew she couldn’t win pretending she was just an American citizen, so she in a sense admitted her stardom and called herself a celebrity, which would have never happened before. This time, though, it worked. The press fell for it, and Hilton was back where she was always meant to be — a rich, dumb blonde fashion model who doubles as a celebrity by night. That may not win a nobel prize, but it is where she is meant to be.

PR stunts are really that last spark of hope in politics and entertainment that has saved the careers of many. There have been many of these acts before and there are many in process right now (an example would be Britney Spears). And although they work unnoticed, behind the scenes, the real geniuses behind all of these acts are the PR guys. And that’s how it will stay. 

In politics, anything can happen, but it relies on the press to take it as far as they want it. John Edwards has certainly caused a national stir after admitting an affair to filmmaker Rielle Hunter, 42, but is it really in our hands to decide his political fate?  The press was certainly responsible for other downfalls of presidential hopefuls, including presidents themselves, and this is no exception. So what is going to happen?

In my opinion a blow like this could send him either to Kansas or Washington DC. If Barack Obama has any brains in his head, he’ll think long and hard about the possibility of giving Edwards a campaign spot. Not that he wouldn’t make good decisions, but it could be political suicide — especially during the aftermath of the Reverent Wright bonanza. The press could eat both of them up, and unless Obama has some sort of master escape route, then this could be a decision that won’t favor Edwards. So I say that his role in this presidential outing is looking pretty grim. 

But then again, things could make turn for the better. The press seems not to remember that John McCain, after spending years in captivity during the Vietnam War, blew off his old wife (who by the way was waiting the entire time for him) so he could run off with Cindy McCain, his current one. At that time he wasn’t campaigning, so it was the perfect time for him to do something like that. And now that “the first door on the right” media seems to adore McCain, they just regard it officially as old news. This was a dodged bullet for McCain and he hasn’t been pestered by it ever since. 

So could Edwards pull off a McCain and get by it? Sadly, I don’t think so. Although the left wing did like him, he still has this chip on his shoulder that no one can ignore. So there are two things he could do. First, he could wait it out, staying away from the media but when forced to comment on his affair, apologizing for it as he has done. This way he can get off the grid, and look at his chances furthermore. And anything can happen during that time. The luckiest he could get would be if the conservatives got some huge dirt on Obama and leaked. That way he could try to hitch a ride on Hillary’s back, where he has more chances. 

The best thing to do for him, in my opinion would be to try to pull a Bill Clinton. No, I’m not calling for him to deny the whole thing but to hold periodic press conferences and apologize profusely, doing everything from bringing in his wife to publicly slapping the girl he cheated on. The press would love it, and if everyone falls for it, he could bounce back. 

The one thing he shouldn’t do would be pointing out what McCain did back in Vietnam. It would first give the press an outlet to shove this whole thing back in his face, saying he’s desperate and doesn’t want to apologize like a third grader after stealing someone’s toys. Although what McCain did was worse, this would be like signing his will and walking the plank. So that’s what I think about this whole thing, hope you guys have some other ideas as well as opinions of you own.

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