Editorial denounces McCain's lipstick attack as "silly." But the paper remains dutifully silent about its own lipstick coverage or how the press turned the "silly" attack into a blockbuster story.
For those keeping score this morning, the NYTimes blames the Internet for the non-story while the Post blames McCain. As for the press? it plays no role in the controversy.
Try to follow this logic:
There's no question that Senator Obama did not refer to Gov. Sarah Palin as a pig during his talk last night in Virginia. Although the allusion to lipstick within a week of Ms. Palin's popular line at the Republican convention has prompted a great deal of chatter around the Internet.
So according to the Times, there's no way anyone could suggest that Obama was referring to Palin with his pig comment. No way. But what created the chatter on the Internet was Palin's previous reference at the convention.
First of all, the incessant chatter about the comment has been coming not from the Internet but from the mainstream press, and especially cable television, which won't stop talking about the non-story. (See below.)
And second, what actually prompted the story were erroneous suggestions by reporters at AP, WSJ, and ABC, among others, who claimed the candidate was referring to Palin; claims based solely on the ability of reporters to read the candidate's mind since he made no verbal references to Palin at the time. That in turn was pounced on by the McCain camp as proof of a personal attack.
This whole episode has been a journalism disgrace. The Times' attempt to blame this non-story on the Internet just adds to the misery.
Take a look.
With a tip of the hat to CJR (we told you we loved them), here's an updated tally on the number of times the cablers have mentioned "lipstick" in the recent Tuesday-into-Wednesday news cycle:
Fox News: 98
Here's a County Fair bonus contrast: The number of times each cabler in the same news cycle mentioned distressed lender, Fannie Mae?
Fox news: 20
Behold, our Fourth Estate.
We're a day late on this one, but it needed to be said, and Jeff Bercovici at Portfolio.com did.
New York Observer offers an inside look of the recent personnal changes at the cabler.
Nugget: Andrea Mitchell expressed concerns to NBC's CEO that Keith Olbermann should not be anchoring MSNBC's big political events.
Paul Begala laments how they dominate campaign coverage.
Taylor Marsh thinks so, and doubts the facts of the increasingly popular McCain-Palin Down Syndrome tale that a mysterious caller is spreading on talk radio is true.