There has been much water cooler speculation in political/pundit circles about just how in the world Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana has seemingly come from out of nowhere and sort of usurped Beto O’Rourke’s spot as the media’s favorite presidential candidate.
The Politico‘s media writer Jack Shafer wrote a piece today that gives some good insight into what’s happened – and why:
In recent weeks, he’s appeared on a CNN town hall, Ellen, A-list podcasts and Morning Joe, and been featured in New York, POLITICO Magazine, the Atlantic and much more. But saying yes is never enough to hold the press spellbound. Buttigieg has satisfied the ravenous press corps’ appetite by offering them an entire menu of newish things—no, make that an entire food court of newish things—to write about.
He’s the youngest candidate in the field (at 37, he’s the only millennial except for Tulsi Gabbard), he’s gay and married, he’s an Afghan war veteran, he’s a Rhodes scholar (as is Cory Booker, but never mind), he plays a decent piano, he’s a churchgoer, he’s the mayor of the fourth-largest city in Indiana, he once gave a TEDx talk, he worked as a McKinsey consultant, he’s a polymath, he’s as earnest as a preacher, he’s an old person’s idea of what a young person should be like, and he’s figured out how to package progressive ideas as moderate.
The fear of boredom plagues political reporters. Assigned to a well-known candidate, their first question is, “Haven’t we read this all before?” They crave novelty and newness, for the underexposed over the overexposed, and that prejudice gives relatively unknown candidates a leg up on established ones, especially in the early months of the campaign. Booker and Elizabeth Warren, whom the press once treated as fresh, almost delectable personages a couple of years ago, are now dismissed as known, lackluster quantities.
In other words, Mayor Pete is the new Obama. The gay white version.
He’s like the mainstream media’s shiny new toy. And if he is elected president, he’ll be the first openly gay president in history. One of the big appeals about candidate Barack Obama to the mainstream media was the fact that they knew he had the potential to make history. They knew the stories that they could write about him, the money that their news organizations could make from writing about him, and the journalism awards they could stand to win would be endless.
He also articulated the big money progressive ideas that the media particularly favors in ways that made them sound appealing to voters. He practically wrote the media’s stories for them.
There were also reports during his primary run of the love/hate relationship the MSM had with Hillary Clinton (it was mostly hate). So Obama was chosen to The One at that time.
While a female president would be a first, too, we’ve already almost been there with Hillary, so the newness and excitement over any future “first female president” has taken a back burner to the “ZOMG first gay man in the Oval Office maybe and how can I get a press pass on his media bus and be a part of history?” hysteria. But if any of the Democratic ladies start surging to the front of the pack, they’ll once again be center stage.
The MSM is nothing if not predictable.
—Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–