MINDLESS MEDIA CRITICISM….OK, this bugs me. I know it’s trivial, but it’s the kind of petty and deliberately misleading “media criticism” that consumes way too much oxygen in the blogosphere.

Instapundit notes today ? and The Campaign Desk links approvingly ? that AP’s Scott Lindlaw wrote the following in a color piece on the Daytona 500:

With his wife, Laura, trailing him, Bush walked the pit, mingling with drivers, shaking hands with fans. He peered into car No. 16, sponsored by the National Guard, and if the car reminded him of the tempest swirling around his own service in the Texas Air National Guard, he didn’t show it.

Shocking! These guys can’t even cover a NASCAR race without obsessing about politics!

But then I clicked the link to read the story. Here’s what Bush told NBC in an interview just before the race:

I flew fighters when I was in the Guard, and I like speed. It would’ve been fun to drive up on these banks….I’d like to, but I’m afraid the agents wouldn’t let me.

Give me a break. Bush’s appearance was obviously a full-blown campaign appearance, complete with Air Force One flyby, and he’s the one who brought up his fighter jock background in the first place. What’s more, this wasn’t AP’s main coverage of the race, it was a sidebar feature meant to spotlight the political aspects of Bush’s visit. Given that, what’s wrong with a couple of sentences tying Bush’s visit and his own remarks into a controversy that everyone this side of Mars knows is front and center right now? Only a journalistic puritan could object.

I expect this kind of stuff from Glenn, but The Campaign Desk should know better than to join in with this brand of mindless media nitpicking.