There's no question that if McCain loses on Tuesday, conservatives are going to embrace their favorite meme about how the liberal media bent over backwards during the campaign to sink the GOP ticket; how the press ganged up on Republicans.
The hitch this time around, as Brian Normoyle details at HuffPost, is that it's been conservative writers at the front of the line critiquing McCain/Palin in recent weeks. So how is that the fault of "the liberal media"?
Livingblogging a Q&A with Chris Matthews from Nathans restaurant in Georgetown this week, Mediabistro's fishbowl DC caught this exchange:
On McCain campaign: "They think they can win by attacking the media. ... It's never worked before."
Hmm, no campaign has ever won the White House by attacking the media? Was Matthews not around four years ago when the Bush/Cheney campaign was pretty much built around attacking the media? Or did Cheney banning a New York Times reporter off his campaign plane not count as attacking the press?
Ironically, Matthews earlier in the Q&A announced, "I sometimes think my memory's too good."
Ben Smith puts together a round-up of all the nasty rumors that have surfaced about Obama and McCain during the campaign and notes that Politico reporters have been inundated with emails from partisans demanding they investigate the stories, which are mostly just conspiracy theories.
This is an important topic and could have been a chance for Politico to pull back the curtain on the behavior of right-wing bloggers during his election cycle who have been pushing some of the flimsiest and loopiest conspiracies ever recorded. It could have been chance for Politico to document how the right-wing bloggers have become a joke.
It could have been, but that's now how the Beltway press treats right-wing bloggers. Instead, the Beltway press prefers to look away when partisan GOP bloggers embarrass themselves, as they've done continuously this campaign.
Smith never even types up the phrase "right-wing bloggers" and in fact he never even mentions them in his article. (He does though, call out the "die-hard pro-Hillary section of the blogosphere" for shoddy behavior.) His article also strains mightily to pretend the anti-Obama and anti-McCain conspiracy theories were roughly equal in number this season. (i.e. Smith presents three targeting each candidate.)
Basically, it's a whitewash.
What's curious is that Smith himself last week linked to a definitive blog post by Jon Swift, which cataloged all the idiotic anti-Obama rumors the bloggers chased this season. Rather than amplifying those findings in his rumor article, Smith just ignored them.
Since Politico won't highlight the smears peddled by conservative blogs this campaign, we will:
*While attending Columbia University in the early 1980's and interested in the South African divestiture movement, Obama was involved in violent protests, including domestic terrorist bombings, that erupted when a South African rugby team toured America.
*Obama's deeply personal memoir, Dreams of My Fathers, was actually ghost-written by Bill Ayers, the former '60's radical-turned college professor who befriended Obama in Chicago in the 1990's.
*When Obama went to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii in October, he was really traveling there in order to deal with controversy about his birth certificate.
* Obama was getting answers in the first debate through a clear plastic hearing aid in his ear.
*The Obama campaign conspired with a Los Angeles PR firm to peddle anti-Palin video smears on YouTube.
*Michelle Obama gave an unsolicited phone interview to an obscure Norway-based news organization in which she railed against "American white racists" trying to derail her husband's campaign.
That's what right-wing bloggers have been obsessing about this campaign. But Politico remains mum.
The Washington Times complains:
The Washington Times, which has covered the Barack Obama campaign from the start, was kicked off the Democrat's campaign plane for the final 72 hours of the race.
The Obama campaign informed the newspaper Thursday evening of its decision, which came two days after The Times editorial page endorsed Senator John McCain over Mr. Obama. The Times editorial page runs completely independent of the news department.
"This feels like the journalistic equivalent of redistributing the wealth, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars covering Senator Obama's campaign, traveling on his plane, and taking our turn in the reporter's pool, only to have our seat given away to someone else in the last days of the campaign," said Washington Times Executive Editor John Solomon.
Solomon is still relatively new to the job, and I know he sometimes struggles with the basics, so here's a free tip: When claiming that your newsroom is independent of the right-wing leanings for which your editorial page is well-known, it probably isn't a good idea to parrot McCain campaign talking points about Obama "redistributing the wealth." It kind of undermines your point.
One of the mundane-but-necessary tasks that occasionally falls to those of us in the reality-based community is debunking the Right's laughable claims of media bias. It typically isn't difficult work, though it is sometimes time-consuming.
Fortunately, conservatives sometimes do the heavy lifting for us by leveling self-debunking attacks on the media, as Bill Kristol did on The Daily Show:
Appearing once again on The Daily Show, Bill Kristol, Jon Stewart's favorite whipping boy ("Bill Kristol, aren't you ever right?"), tonight defended the McCain-Palin ticket, at one point informing the show's host that he was getting his news from suspect sources. "You're reading The New York Times too much," he declared.
"Bill, you work for The New York Times," Stewart pointed out.
Rebecca Traister's great piece in Salon about how women were the media stars of the `08 campaign:
In 2008, American news desks, campaign press planes and anchor chairs were crawling with women -- and not just the fascistic sylphs of Fox News and the right. Women like Dana Bash, Andrea Mitchell, Candy Crowley, Gloria Borger and Donna Brazile were feeding us our news, and the breakout stars, like [Katie] Couric, [Rachel] Maddow and [Campbell] Brown, were building audiences, asserting their perspectives on the unfolding narrative and making crafty use of the internets to stake their proprietary claim in this most surprising and enthralling of election cycles.
Ugh, this article is a piece of work.
When we last noticed Time's John Cloud he was writing a blogospheric classic in the form of a Valentine to Ann Coulter (has it really been three years?), where the hate mistress was transformed into a public intellectual.
Cloud's latest is headlined, "The Gay Mafia That's Redefining Politics." It's basically a look at a group of wealthy and influential gay men, dubbed the Cabinet, who have teamed up to raise millions of dollars to give candidates running against anti-gay opponents, and to give to organizations and PAC's that are politically aligned with the men's agenda.
That strikes us as mildly interesting, but hardly blockbuster, material. But when Time dresses the story up and shrouds it mystery with words like "secret," "secretive," "stealth," and the "complex" "web of connections," even we had our interest piqued.
Alas, the breathless tone of the piece turns out to be pointless. And so are many of the claims Cloud makes in his effort to prop up the story as a tale of nefarious influences. For instance, why is the name of the right-wing's favorite lib bogey man, George Soros, sprinkled throughout the Time story even though Soros is not connected with the Cabinet and, based on Time's reporting, has not donated a dime?
And what's with "redefining politics" headline? The Cabinet is made up of liberals giving money to liberal candidate (esp. on the state level) and to liberal orgs. As much as we wish that constituted"redefining politics" in America, that claim strikes us as absurd.
And we're not even going to mention the idiotic, law-breaking "mafia" meme. Actually, we will mention it because Cloud goes out his way to darkly note (he even quotes a Skadden Arps attorney!) that none of the Cabinet's work or donations are "illegal." But why even bring that up? There's absolutely nothing in the article to even suggest there's anything illegal going on. Again; wealthy libs raise money and then spread it around. Where does the crime-breaking angle come in?
The truth is, Cloud has to address the issue of illegality because of the hush-hush tone he uses to dress up the Cabinet up as a menacing force.
In the passage where Cloud reassures Time readers about how the Cabinet's work is legit, he adds this caveat:
And yet as the National Review's Byron York has pointed out, Americans were horrified to learn during Watergate that Richard Nixon's friend Clement Stone had donated an outrageous $2 million in cash to the President's campaign. Cabinet members have spent at least five times that amount in various races in the past four years.
First, love how Time turns to the conservative National Review writer for an un-bias assessment of liberal political activism.
Second, the comparison between the Cabinet and Nixon's pal Clement Stone clearly makes no sense because Stone made headlines in the early 1970's when it was discovered, as part of the Watergate investigation, that the millionaire insurance salesman single-handedly filled Nixon's campaign coffers with millions and millions of dollars worth of donations.
He did that by donating money to hundreds of Nixon-created front groups--which funneled the money to Nixonland--as a way to get around the legal limits in place for presidential donors. (Corner-cutting donors also got tax breaks that way.) In other words, Stone for years was pretty much oblivious to the campaign finance laws of the time.
That's who Cloud uses as a comparison for the Cabinet, which, as far as the Time article reports, doesn't even give money to Democratic presidential candidates. Plus, Cloud provides zero proof that the Cabinet is using front groups to bypass established law the way Stone brazenly did. Yet Cloud eagerly quotes from a conservative in order to make the phony comparison between the two; a single donor who skirted the law, and a group of men who abide by it.
Like we said, this article is a piece of work.