Is Obama Getting Too Much Coverage?

Sen. Barack Obama, continued a multi-nation overseas trip that has been dominating media coverage the last few days.

The widely covered trip is the latest example of what some critics are saying is a continuing pattern that puts Obama's presidential opponent, Sen. John McCain, at a disadvantage, reports CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston.

The trip is a high risk gamble, and as one journalism expert adds, highly unusual.

"International travel is not usually a way for candidates to win the White House," says Tom Rosenstiel, the director of the Project For Excellence In Journalism. "That says something about Obama's needs as a candidate and what the issues are this year."

What Obama is trying to strengthen is his foreign policy credibility. McCain, a war hero with decades in the Senate, claims he already has it.

What McCain doesn't have these days is media magic.

Since June 9th, when Obama effectively clinched the votes for the nomination, the Project For Excellence In Journalism took a weekly look at 300 political stories in newspapers, magazines and television. In 77 percent of the stories, Obama played an important role, and 51 percent featured McCain.

"That's an edge," said Rosenthiel. "That is a big enough difference that it is an uneven playing field probably for McCain."

And there is more to come. As Obama continues his foreign travels to the Middle East and Europe, he will be interviewed by all three network anchors - CBS' Katie Couric on Tuesday, ABC's Charles Gibson on Eednesday and NBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

While Obama's likely to endure tough questions from the networks, the amount of media attention will probably remain lopsided.

"A lot of Republicans are very frustrated with what they see is the uncritical coverage of Barack Obama's candidacy," said David Mark, a senior writer at Politico.com.

At the end of the day, Obama may have his chief political opponent to thank for this shower of media attention.

"This could end up backfiring on Sen. McCain who sort of goaded Barack Obama into taking this trip. On his Web site, he repeatedly had a sign up about how long it had been since he went to Iraq," Mark said.

The tour could also trip up Obama. One slip or gaffe could hurt his candidacy and give him the kind of media coverage he doesn't want.
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