H/t to Mike Stagg
Less than thirty minutes before President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address tonight, The Town Talk published a press release from Congressman Rodney Alexander (LA-5), with the headline “Congressman Alexander comments on the State of the Union.”
Note: The timestamp is in Central Standard Time, 7:32PM CST. President Obama’s speech began at 8:00PM CST.
In fairness to the Congressman, he likely did not write that headline, but for anyone who, like me, checked The Town Talk during the State of the Union, it seemed a little strange and disingenuous. Representative Alexander, a man who switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party only after he had secured the Democratic nomination and raised thousands of dollars from loyal Democratic donors, wasn’t actually commenting on a speech that hadn’t yet been delivered; he was simply using an opportune time to preemptively criticize the President. And that is certainly his right.
Though considering the timing and the context of his press release, it’s somewhat ironic that Representative Alexander implored the President to “put an end to the political games and rhetoric behind him.” Because “political games” and “rhetoric” are exactly what the Congressman engaged in with this strategically-timed press release, a press release designed to eat up the local headlines during the State of the Union. It’s important to note: This wasn’t a media report about comments made by the Congressman in advance of the speech; it was a press release sent to the media by his office and published less than thirty minutes before the speech, framed by an amazingly misleading headline. That’s what many people would call political gamesmanship.