Two weeks ago, I noted that in previewing the 2000 debates, the Associated Press asserted: "Gore, who has been staging mock debates under a massive model shark at Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida, cannot afford self-aggrandizing exaggeration (as in, 'I took the initiative in creating the Internet'), mean attacks or smarty-pants condescension."
Watching tonight's debate previews on MSNBC and CNN, it's striking that the journalists participating don't seem to care whether Sarah Palin tells the truth tonight. After all, this is a candidate who introduced herself to America with a false claim exaggerating her role in stopping the "bridge to nowhere" -- then, when caught, she kept right on making the very same false claim.
Yet the media -- once hypersensitive to the mere possiblity that Al Gore might be guilty of "self-aggrandizing exaggeration" and ever-alert for anything a candidate might do that plays into preexisting weaknesses -- don't seem to care whether Palin tells the truth tonight.
UPDATE: Here's another example: The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza offers his take on "What to Watch For" tonight. No mention of the possibility of Palin making a false claim. And little more than passing mention of anything substantive, for that matter.