In my column this week, I noted that The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder seemed to suggest that the media is not covering Bill Ayers.
Shortly after that column was finished, Time's Michael Scherer posted (with permission) an email exchange he had with Ambinder, in which Ambinder makes that point more clearly:
But it's not working. To the extent that questions are being raised, they are being raised at the extreme margins of a 10 point race (or seven point race). They know this; they see the same polls and do the same focus groups. They're not grabbing news cycles. The news isn't about Ayers...
In fact, the stories that seep through seem to be about conservative intellectuals abandoning McCain, not about William Ayers -- or they're about McCain's soul -- or about conservatives questioning whether McCain has lost his soul, or they're about angry Republicans at events... One CNN segment on ACORN?. [emphasis added]
This is nothing short of delusional. As I noted in my column, a Nexis search returns more than 1,800 news stories mentioning Barack Obama and Bill Ayers -- in the past week alone. 1,800.
But Ambinder thinks that what the media is really focusing on is "conservative intellectuals abandoning McCain." Oh yeah? How many news stories have there been about that in the past week? Since he can't be bothered to provide actual facts to back up his assertions, I'll be happy to do the Nexis searches if Ambinder provides the names of the "conservative intellectuals" he thinks are getting more attention than Ayers. But I'm confident it's going to be a heck of a lot fewer than 1,800 hits.
(Ambinder demonstrated the absurdity of his own claims less than two hours later, when he noted that ACORN came up during an ESPN college football broadcast. At 6:05 PM, he was claiming ACORN wasn't seeping through; that there had only been "One CNN segment on ACORN." By 7:53 PM, he was forced to acknowledge it had seeped all the way through to ESPN.)
And this delusion that the media is paying more attention to -- what? Bill Buckley's kid endorsing Barack Obama? -- than to Bill Ayers leads Ambinder to suggest that the media is in the tank for Obama. Of course, his suggestions of media bias are always just that -- suggestions. He doesn't say it directly; maybe he thinks that removes any obligation to actually provide evidence. In this case, Ambinder says the media is "let's face it, kind of in tank for change, if not for Obama."
Speaking of Ambinder and Ayers ... earlier this week, I noted that Ambinder called Obama's decision to bring up the Keating Five "scuzzy" -- but his numerous posts about the McCain campaign's focus on Ayers and Jeremiah Wright contained no such denunciations. Well, Ambinder has written a lot more about McCain's focus on Ayers since then. And the turn McCain has taken over the past few weeks has been blasted even by Republicans who have supported McCain. But Ambinder hasn't called McCain's tactics "scuzzy," or offered criticism anywhere near that harsh. The closest he's come seems to be complaining that they're poorly executed.
To sum up: Marc Ambinder thinks the media is not covering Bill Ayers. And he thinks it's Obama who is running a "scuzzy" campaign.