Blog

  • Is Chris Matthews a Democrat?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The growing buzz is the MSNBC host wants to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 as a Democrat. The Daily Howler is amazed the idea is even discussed:

    Given the history of the past fifteen years, the idea that Matthews could run as a Democrat ought to be deeply astounding...Why is it astounding to think that Matthews could run as a Democrat? No one on cable devoted more effort to the wars against both Clintons and Gore-the wars which sent George Bush to the White House, the wars which produced the war in Iraq.

  • Why is Bill O'Reilly embarrassed to be called right-wing?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    In its Correction Box today the Washington Post writes:

    A photo caption in the Oct. 22 Style section incorrectly referred to Bill O'Reilly as a "right-wing pundit." The Fox News host presents himself as an independent.

    We assume that came via pushback from Fox News, which is notorious for hounding news outlets that suggest the channel has a conservative tilt.

    Couple things are curious here. First, in the past, Fox News execs have stressed that while its primetime hosts might be opinionated and lean right, its overall news organization plays it straight. That's their argument. So why the rush to claim one of its most opinionated primetime hosts, O'Reilly, doesn't have a conservative tilt?

    Second, stressing that O'Reilly "presents himself as an independent" is odd, not only for the obvious reason that he doesn't really. But it's strange because it's not like the Post identified him as a Republican and O'Reilly doesn't want to be associated with a particular party, which would be understandable. The Post identified him as a conservative, as "right-wing," and still O'Reilly objected.

    When somebody like Bill O'Reilly doesn't even want to be associated with the conservative movement, you know it's in trouble. Who's next, Sean Hannity?

  • ... and what is Marc Ambinder biased towards?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder writes:

    Military ballots are being tossed in Fairfax Co, VA because of a "technicality." Not a lot of them compared to the size of the electorate, but more than a few.

    ...

    Democrats insist they're biased towards access... so will they try to intervene on behalf of these voters?

    Of course, another way to look at it would be: "Republicans insist they're biased towards the rule of law ... so will they support the rejection of these ballots?"

    But Ambinder didn't raise that question.

    It probably doesn't surprise anyone to see either party take whichever position on "technicalities" they think will help them win. After all, they're trying to win. But what is Marc Ambinder trying to do in suggesting only the Democrats are guilty of such inconsistency?

  • Simple answers to simple questions

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Wolf Blitzer, against his better judgment, was quoting right-wing radio talker Hugh Hewitt at length during "The Situation Room" today about how McCain could still win the election if he stressed the topic of abortion during the final days of the campaign.

    Blitzer asked GOP consultant Alex Castellanos, was Hugh Hewitt being realistic?

    Castellanos: "No."

  • Yet more proof the press screwed Al Gore

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Lots of folks are talking about the broad, new Project for Excellence in Journalism study about the fall's campaign coverage that concludes coverage of John McCain had been decidedly more negative than the Barack Obama coverage in the last six weeks.

    According to the study of mainstream media, 57% of print and broadcast stories about the GOP nominee were negative, compared to 14 that were positive.

    As Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post notes, that imbalance likely reflects the fact that McCain's campaign has suffered drastically this fall, falling behind by double digits in some major polls. In other words, when a campaign craters, the corresponding coverage is not going to be pretty.

    "Winning in politics begets winning coverage," the study concluded. Makes sense, right?

    Than how do we explain this additional conclusion from the study: "McCain's numbers are almost identical to what we saw eight years ago for Democrat Al Gore." [Emphasis added.]

    Somebody alert Bob Somerby, because this is just amazing. John's McCain campaign has, according to the polls and even conservative pundits, been going through a slow-motion wreck for the last month. (i.e. Free fall?) And yet his press coverage is "almost identical" that of Al Gore in 2000.

    It's amazing because what was Gore doing at this point in 2000? He was basically running dead even with George Bush, and in the process of winning virtually every toss-up state come Election Day.

    See how that correlation between performance and coverage disappeared for Gore? He was performing just as well as his opponent (and light-years better than McCain today), yet Gore got saddled with kind of coverage usually assigned to the pronounced loser.

  • Why won't the WSJ's Daniel Henninger name names?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The conservative columnist has a very angry piece in today's paper, "Hatin' Palin," in which be bemoans the "stoning" the VP candidate has had to withstand from "the media."

    "The abuse being heaped on Sarah Palin is such a cheap shot," he writes.

    The irony is that these days, among the "elite" whom Henninger is so upset with, it's conservative pundits who seem to be unfurling the most "abuse" aimed at Palin.

    So if Henninger has a problem with Peggy Noonan and George Will and David Brooks and David Frum and Kathleen Parker, then Henninger should write a column about how abusive his fellow conservative pundits have been. He should call them out for their supposedly hateful ways.

    Instead, Henninger seems to try to fudge it and pretend "the media" are the ones taking pot shots at Palin.

  • The NYT and Fox News patch things up?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    You'll recall FNC lashed out this summer when the Times published an article about how the cabler's ratings were soft during the campaign season. Fox News lashed out by airing doctored photo's of the Times reporters and editors who worked on the ratings story.

    Then the newspaper's media columnist, David Carr, wrote about how industry reporters who write anything negative about Fox News are regularly attacked by its flacks.

    Well, all seems to be forgiving as the Times today returns with another state-of-Fox-News article and compares the channel's lineup of anchors to the Yankees' Murderer's Row: they're all home run hitters!

    Actually, the only new person in the Fox News lineup next year will be Glenn Beck, who's been firmly holding down last place at CNN Headlines News for years now, so we're not sure what great new all-star team the Times is talking about. But at least it's unlikely that Fox News will release the hounds on the newspaper this week.

  • Waiting to hear from Robin Givhan

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    She's the Washington Post fashion editor who often weighs in on the intersection of politics and fashion. (Her "cleavage" column last year remains an unintentional camp classic.)

    We're waiting to hear from Givhan because, as Jason Linkins reminds us at Huffington Post, Givhan recently wrote glowingly about Sarah Palin's everyday appeal: "Palin's clothes are common. Everyone knows someone who dresses like her, which is partly why so many folks seem to think that they know her."

    Now that we know the RNC showered Palin with a $150,000 clothing allowance, does Givhan want to revise her comments?

    Update: Givhan wrote about the Palin wardrobe story today and remained completely mum about her previous assessment.

  • The Politico plays nice with the McCain "comeback" narrative

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The headlines reads "A Glimmer of hope for GOP," and the article does it best to stitch together polling data to showcase the Republican talking point that there's been real movement toward McCain.

    Politico is relatively honest in terms of presenting the numbers that don't add up for McCain. But the whole article has a definite, well-it's-possible vibe to it. (Which, the drama-starved press much prefers.)

    Politico could have just as easily used the same topic and the same numbers to show how, based on all the data, the "comeback" talk (i.e. there's been a significant shift in McCain's favor) remains hollow.