The Twinkies Of Political News

(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
With about 20 months to go in the 2008 presidential campaign, candidates – and the news outlets that cover them – have a lot of space to fill. That's why, for example, candidates announces their candidacy a dozen times before making it "official" – and news outlets cover each announcement with equivalent gusto. Both the media and the candidates are vying for the audience's attention as often as they can – because they know it's going to be a long haul.

This long slog is part of the reason why, as National Journal's William Powers argues, the Obama-Clinton-Geffen saga spread like wildfire across the media spectrum – even though "there wasn't a lot to the spat -- David hates Hillary, Hillary hates Obama, nyah, nyah, nyah." Nonetheless, the story "was covered in hundreds of news stories and columns around the world."

Stories like this (and there will be more of them) are "the Twinkies of political news," says Powers – "light, synthetic, tasty, and strangely unfilling." But popular nonetheless.