NEW YORK — Anyone who thought Hillary Rodham Clinton’s memoir “Living History” was the media’s summer obsession, think again. In comparison to the press blitzkrieg former Time managing editor and CNN prexy Walter Isaacson is receiving for “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life,” the former first lady is looking almost blown off.
Although there was much ado over Hillary’s back-to-back-to-back gabs with Barbara, Katie and Larry, the publicity Isaacson has gotten in the last week alone is staggering. Is it a case of the media loving their own? (Not that Isaacson is a mere media darling — his previous bio of Henry Kissinger was well received.)
Isaacson, who left CNN earlier this year to head up the Aspen Institute, told Daily Variety he absolutely loves talking about Franklin, who was one of the country’s first true media moguls. “I think there is a hunger for our founding fathers. It is quite different from the Hillary phenomenon. Her book is very personal. I’m not getting the publicity myself.”
Still, Isaacson’s interview circuit has been like a series of cozy reunions. Indeed, Time paid its former topper homage with a cover story, while CNN’s Aaron Brown and Judy Woodruff did separate interviews with Isaacson.
But let’s not stop there. Isaacson turned up on PBS’ “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer,” WNET’s “The Charlie Rose Show,” CNBC’s “Kudlow & Kramer” and ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” among others. (Stephanopoulos did a walking tour of Philadelphia with Isaacson.)
All the major newspapers have weighed in on the Franklin book, with mostly positive acclaim.
Isaacson also made time for the Christian Broadcast Network and — unlike most media liberals (including Sen. Clinton) — was happy to appear on the Fox News Channel. And somewhere along the way he had time to pen his first New Yorker piece.
Finally, with the country’s 9/11-fueled patriotism, the timing couldn’t be better for a 400-page founding father tome. The only question is, who wants to lug it to the beach?