Obama backhands McCain's 'celebrity' spin in new ad

Celebrities take over presidential race; Google apologizes for Gmail outage; NBC responds to fireworks' criticism; and more.

Presidential contender Barack Obama responded to a celebrity-themed ad from his rival, Sen. John McCain, with one of his own.

McCain's ad had compared the Obama to “celebrities,” Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, and in Obama's new cable TV ad, “Embrace,” McCain is branded as “Washington's biggest celebrity.” It paints the McCain as a B-list celebrity with montages of the senator uncomfortably mugging for appearances on The View and Letterman, as well as affectionately hugging President Bush and walking in slow motion with a pack of lobbyists, Entourage-style. These wince-inducing images are followed by accusations, which include “low road campaign” and “same old Washington Games.”

Beyond pop culture, Editor & Publisher warns reporters to question the facts of both candidates' campaigns. The New York Times for its part ran two retractions concerning McCain and his military record. On Sunday, the grey lady incorrectly characterized McCain as a “fighter pilot,” and said it was “[an] error that has appeared in numerous other Times articles the past dozen years, most recently on April 9 and on Dec. 15, 2007.” Another error credited McCain senior adviser, Steve Schmidt, as a former marine.

Also:

Chicago Press Corps accused of being de facto PR team for Obama.

Magazine sales plummet 6.3% across the board, with only People and In Style posting an increase.

Google apologizes for Gmail's two-hour outage yesterday via a blog, stating "We feel your pain, and we're sorry."

NBC answers to complaints of computer-generated fireworks during the Olympic opening ceremony Friday, the “live” tag for events that are not simulcast, and editing of the parade of nations.

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