On Wednesday evening, the Media Mob bumped into CNN U.S. President Jonathan Klein, who was lounging on the front patio at the CNN Grill in St. Paul, drinking a glass of Diet Coke and waiting for a cheeseburger.
The day before Senator John McCain had canceled an interview with CNN’s Larry King. The cancellation was payback of sorts for a hard-nosed interview that Campbell Brown had recently conducted with a McCain spokesperson in which the CNN anchor questioned Sarah Palin’s foreign-policy experience.
Did Mr. Klein anticipate any long-term problems with the McCain camp? Mr. Klein downplayed the friction, chalking it up to the run-of-the-mill competing missions of politicians and the journalists who cover them.
“We’re trying to get answers,” said Mr. Klein. “And the candidate’s strategists are trying to market their candidates. Those missions don’t always sync up. They often collide.”
“We respect the folks that are running that campaign,” he added. “I think they respect us, too. They should just come by the CNN Grill, knock back a beer and move on.”
Speaking of beer, the kickoff of the N.F.L. 2008 season loomed on the horizon. In roughly 24 hours, the New York Football Giants would be playing the Washington Redskins at the Meadowlands in the first game of the season. Mr. Klein is a die-hard Giants fan. The Media Mob is a die-hard Redskins fan.
What were Mr. Klein’s plans for the game? As president of a major news organization in the midst of covering a major political convention, Mr. Klein was staring down one humdinger of a timing conflict. He shook his head.
“I’m going crazy,” he said. “My seven-year old will be watching it, monitoring developments for me. We may flip over there and take it live if developments warrant it.”