Even Ralph Nader Is Running Against the Media

Perhaps taking a cue from Sarah Palin’s barbs against the elite Washington media, Ralph Nader has released a new Web ad chiding the same fickle bunch.

But it’s not negative coverage he’s complaining about. It’s the lack of any coverage whatsoever.

“All these reporters I’ve known, and the commentators and editors, they just froze,” he tells his pet parrot. “They froze, Cardozo. National television has just blacked out the Nader-Gonzales campaign. I don’t know what I have to do.” His best bet, he decides, is to dress up like a panda and go to the zoo.

Running against the media is a failsafe way to gin up attention. Voters devour it, even as they depend on the media to broadcast the candidate’s media-bashing. Even the media kind of likes it, since they get to discuss their favorite subject. At least Nader does it with a sense of humor, compared with Palin’s suggestion that media elites dislike her because she’s an outsider and “consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.”

Nader has only registered on the election radar a couple of times this cycle, first with the usual will-he-or-won’t-he, then with his vindication on the question of game-fixing in the 2002 NBA playoffs. Both times, the spotlight faded. (Between the conventions, the hurricanes, and the economic meltdown, you can sort of see why.)

“To be, or not to be … a panda,” Nader wonders. Hell, I’d cover that.