Wednesday, May 21, 2008

About the Obama Oregon crowd

Oh, so that is the rest of the story.
From CNN to the New York Times, the media hyped Barack Obama's Portland, Oregon rally on Sunday, some comparing him to a rock star.

Unmentioned in national reporting was the fact that Obama was preceded by a rare, 45-minute free concert by actual rock stars The Decemberists. The Portland-based band has drawn rave reviews from Rolling Stone magazine, which gave their 2005 album Picaresque four and a half stars (out of five), and another four and a half stars for 2007's The Crane Wife.

How many of the people showed up to hear Obama, and how many to hear the band?

Here's how the local paper The Oregonian, which estimated the crowd at 72,000, reported the rally:

"Obama was the biggest star at Sunday's gathering -- though a popular Portland band, The Decemberists, provided the warmup act. With blue skies and temperatures in the 80s, many in the crowd said Waterfront Park was simply the place to be."

CNN headlined its 10 p.m. segment on May 18 with "Barack Obama: Achieving Rock Star Status in Oregon."

The New York Times, which ran a color photo of the crowd, estimated the throng at 75,000, noting that it was "the largest crowd of his campaign so far." There was no mention of The Decemberists, and the Times described the weather as "an unseasonably hot day."

The Decembrists are a standard issue "spoiled upper-middle class college Freshman or High Schooler" Indy-pop band not unlike that stuff Chap and I fiddled with in the mid/late-80s that was too "pop" for proper "alternative" music - but we would still go to their concerts to pick up chicks.

That being said, once you get by the 30-something and up folks playing High School angsty ... there is a bit of cheek about their "Commie-chic."

The real "Decembrist," of course, were the members of the "
Decembrist Revolt" in Russia in 1825; so yea - I get the joke about when they play the Soviet Anthem at their concerts. 95% of the people out there don't get the temporal displacement - but it is all fun for the Che t-shirt crowd and those who like to giggle at them and take their money.

What I would really like to know - did they play this when Sen. Obama (D-IL) came out? Now that would be fun.

Oh, as a sidebar - they do have a song on military wives too.

You can't make this stuff up. Typical MSM to make you think that everyone came out just for Obama ... but then they would have to mention that The Decemberists are a hyper-popular Portland, OR band that doesn't tour all that much ... heck, I once went to a James Taylor concert that he gave to support a Lefty ... just to see James Taylor. Robert Knight gets it right,
There's nothing wrong with a candidate using celebrity power to draw a crowd, but the media have a responsibility to report their presence. By ignoring the free concert, the Times and other outlets made it appear that 75,000 people were drawn only by Sen. Obama's considerable charisma.
...and yes, I would have gone if I was under 30 and within an hour's drive.

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