The media finally seem to be showing interest in the refusal on the part of the town of Wasilla, Alaska, while Sarah Palin was mayor, to pay for rape kits for the victims of sexual assault. The Associated Press has a fairly informative article on the subject, but we can only assume that its last paragraph was inadvertently lopped off. Here's how one version of the AP story currently ends:
Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for the campaign of Palin and John McCain, said that Palin "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test."
The AP gave no indication that it asked Comella the obvious follow-up: Why, if Palin does not believe that rape victims should have to pay for their own evidence-gathering test, did this practice continue for four years while Palin was mayor, with the practice ending only after the state legislature stepped in and outlawed it?
Blogger Bruce Wilson specializes in researching the religious right and it was his viral video earlier this year, "God Sent Hitler," that forced McCain to walk away from Pastor John Hagee. More recently, Wilson posted a very important clip about Sarah Palin's church and the often radical brand of faith it practices. The clip was picked up all over the blogosphere and as of Thursday had been seen more than 160,000 at YouTube. (Watch the video here.)
But then the clip was yanked. When Wilson tried to find out why he was told by YouTube it was because of "inappropriate content," which strikes us as very odd. Here's hoping YouTube rethinks the ban.
Meanwhile, we hear the video has sparked a growing online debate within the religious right itself, as more and more followers raise questions about Palin's church and the faith practiced there.
Last week, AP reporter Tom Raum claimed "many liberals" are "belittling" Palin by saying that as a mother of five, she lacks the "time" to be vice president -- but Raum didn't bother to name a single such liberal. So Atrios suggested readers contact Raum and ask him to do so.
Today, Glenn Greenwald explains that one blogger got a response from Raum consisting of 19 quotes -- not one of which was an example of a liberal belitting Palin by saying that as a mother of five she lacks the time to be vice president. Not a single one.
You can see Raum's list here. It raises an obvious question: Did Raum compile the list himself? Did someone else at the AP compile it? Or was it compiled by Republican operatives? If it was compiled by Republicans, why is Tom Raum simply cutting and pasting from GOP opposition research in support of his articles?
Greenwald has invited Raum to appear with him on Salon Radio to discuss Raum's article. If Raum appears, maybe he'll explain where he got that list.
Amygdala walks us through the NYTimes' expert rendition. This time, the topic is lobbyists and campaign contributions and how "McCain employs lobbyists for an industry as his chief advisors on that industry," while "Obama gets contributions from citizens who are employees."
See, they're the same.
That's what Howard Kurtz recently claimed at washgintonpost.com, suggesting reporters and pundits are furious at the McCain campaign: "Whether it's the latest back-and-forth over attack ads, the silly lipstick flap or the continuing debate over Sarah and sexism, you can just feel the tension level rising several notches."
We had to chuckle since, as County Fair has repeatedly stressed, the press chose to cover the lipstick charade. But now, according to Kurtz, it was as if the press had to pretend the hoax represented news.
We're all for journalists feeling like the McCain camp has insulted their intelligence in recent weeks, because we think it's true. But spare us the notion that the press hasn't allowed itself to be played and insulted.
Does its best to defend the "Bush Doctrine" blunder. We think it's going to have to try harder, though.
In his critique of today's WaPo, says Booman Tribune.
Here are some of the ways news orgs spent their cash.
See Glenn Greenwald.
Joe Strupp and Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher try to get to the bottom of a mystery swirling around the Washington Post's web page:
We put together the above quiz prompted by a flurry of postings all along the liberal blogosphere after someone discovered there was a Google url link to a Washington Post web story or video that seemingly went up last night -- but now led to an empty page. But since the Comments section on that page remains active, dozens of visitors have now typed in messages ripping the Post or pleading with it to restore or explain. Complicating matters, another Web detective found a separate url suggesting that the Post may have posted documents related to the same story, also now missing.
The story -- whatever it is -- swirls around one Tom Gosinski (see photo), who was a close observer of the well-known, but not often mentioned these days, episode from the 1990s involving Cindy McCain's drug addiction and a charity she and Gosinki both worked for. He re-emerged this week -- the web site Raw Story did a major piece -- but has not yet hit the mainstream media.
At this point, we don't know what's going on at the Post; maybe the story or video will appear soon. And maybe it will turn out to be an inconsequential story.
But if it turns out that the Post is spiking a story that could damage John McCain's candidacy, it's worth keeping in mind that this wouldn't be the first time the paper has killed a story that could hurt a Republican presidential candidate shortly before election day. Here's a reminder of what happened in 1996:
THE DOLE CAMPAIGN WAS PARALYZED by more than geography. In August the campaign learned that two major news organizations--The Washington Post (owned by the same company that owns NEWSWEEK) and Time--had interviewed a woman who claimed to have had an extramarital affair with Dole in the late '60s, in the waning years of his marriage to his first wife. The campaign sent a lawyer, Doug Wurth, to talk to her. At a meeting at the Willard Hotel in early September, she told Wurth that the relationship had begun in 1968, when she was 35 and Dole was 44, and had ended after Dole's divorce in 1972. Wurth made no attempt to challenge the woman's story.
Dole's advisers feared the story would wreck the campaign. ""It was a mortal threat,'' said one aide. The campaign was planning to stress the argument that Dole was more trustworthy than Clinton. ""It's the one thing we have--the fact that he is an upstanding guy with high morals.'' The woman's story, if published in the Post, ""wipes it all out,'' said this aide.
In the Post's newsroom and executive offices on 15th Street in Washington, a fierce debate raged over the ethics of printing the story. Many of the reporters, including Woodward, wanted to publish. They argued that Dole had made trust and character an issue, and thus adultery, even from the distant past, was relevant. Most of the editors, however, accepted the distinction between public trust and private actions. The Post and its owners, the Graham family, did not want to get into the business of investigating the dalliances of presidential candidates.
By Thursday, Oct. 3, the Post had decided that it would be unfair to print the story just before the first debate, scheduled for that Sunday night. Informed by Woodward, the campaign was hugely relieved. Dole's staffers believed that the closer they got to the election, the harder it would be for the Post to publish such a sensational article. According to a close friend, Dole was finally able to push the story to the back of his mind.
Much more detail can be found here.