Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Sneaking Into the Flying Circus: How the Media Turn Our Presidential Campaigns Into Freak Shows 

Nancy Pelosi's daughter explains how (but not why) running for prez became so miserable

Wednesday, May 25 2005
By Alexandra Pelosi

Free Press (2005), $25

It's no secret to anyone paying attention that when it comes to covering the daily grind of political campaigns, the mainstream media have become little more than barking seals. A body of literature has pointed this out for a good many election cycles now, at least as far back as Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72. The latest, albeit less madcap, confirmation comes from documentary filmmaker-turned-author Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Her book conveys in print what Journeys With George, her much-praised video diary of the 2000 Bush campaign, and the follow-up Diary of a Political Tourist, about the 2004 Democratic primary, laid bare as HBO documentaries: that running for president is terribly demeaning work. Written as a collection of breezy and often hilarious diary entries, Sneaking is more or less the latter documentary brought to life on the page. Pelosi is unsparing in describing the stupid pet tricks to which John Kerry and the band of primary-season losers were subjected in order to satisfy the ever-present horde of largely electronic media. (Step right up and see the would-be leader of the free world make a fool of himself while trying to be hip with Moby, or fall flat on his ass during an ice-skating photo op.) Through snippets of the '04 candidates (quick, can you still name them?) Pelosi illustrates afresh how presidential campaigns have indeed become media sideshows, and how -- but not why -- the ringmasters of the press remain unable or unwilling to reflect on the inanity of it all.

About The Author

Ron Russell


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"