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.
Still no news posted on that story by the Strib yet, but the newspaper has quickly written up a story about how Coleman, just like in his previous campaigns, is suing his opponent.
But fear not curious Strib readers who want to learn more about the $75,000 Coleman lawsuit. You can uncover the facts in the comment section of the Strib article, where this reader update was posted:
Breaking News: Coleman pulls a Ted Stevens
Paul McKim, the founder and CEO of Deep Marine Technology, alleges in a civil suit that Nasser Kazeminy -- a longtime Republican donor, friend of Coleman, and DMT shareholder -- directed the company to send $75,000 to the Senator and his wife. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/30/court-docs-gop-donor-secr_n_139366.html
Enough with the town hall talk, already.
We get it. John McCain wanted to have a series of of regularly scheduled town hall forums with Barack Obama. They never happened.
And by now we all know the WaPo's dean of centrism was deeply disappointed by that. But four months later does Broder still need to hitting that point? In today's column, it's literally one of Broder's key take-aways from the entire campaign.
The issue has certainly been weight heavily on his mind:
*"That is why a pair of strategy decisions made in the past two weeks could prove troublesome for him. The first was Obama's turning down McCain's invitation to join him in a series of town hall meetings where they would appear together and answer questions from real voters." [June 22]
*On June 4, McCain proposed 10 town-hall-style debates before screened audiences of uncommitted independent voters across the country. [Aug. 7]
*"The matchup could have come much earlier, but Obama turned down McCain's invitation to join in a series of town hall meetings during the summer." [Sept. 21]
*"He has been condemned for small-minded partisanship, not praised for his generous and important suggestion that the major-party candidates stump the country together, conducting weekly joint town hall meetings -- an innovation Obama urned down." [Oct. 30]
Speaking of the Strib (see below), Matt Stoller has already noted the oddity of the Strib simultaneously endorsing Obama for president while backing Franken's Republican opponent, Norm Coleman, for the U.S. Senate.
But as mnblue now points out, the Strib's other Congressional endorsements are so poorly argued and executed (Democrat Steve Sarvi wasn't even interviewed by the Strib ed board before it endorsed his GOP opponent), you have to wonder if they'll carry much weight with voters.
From Time: "How McCain Thinks He Can Win Pennsylvania."
As the article itself notes, McCain is trailing in Pa. by between 7-14 points in the most recent polls. That means there are very few political pro's, including reporters covering the race, who likely think McCain can erase a double-digit deficit in five days, simply because there's no recent White House campaign election precedent for that.
Nonetheless, scribes seemed determine to wring out some drama from the Keystone State. (See yesterday's Boston Globe.) And so Time opts for the mind-reading approach: How McCain thinks he can win Pa.
If Time's campaign reporters doubt McCain can win Pa., why is it news that McCain thinks he can?
Cillizza claims the status of Drudge's mojo has become quit the topic of conversation among "the political chattering class." And Cillizza links to a fine post by Phil Singer who delves into the issue.
Of course what Cillizza fails to mention is that Media Matters for America put that issue into play and continues to drive the topic. But for outlets like WaPo, it seems whenever possible they'd prefer not to credit Media Matters. I guess that's because we hold them accountable and often point out their flaws. Or maybe we're just not consequential enough.
And this is nothing new. The Post's Howard Kurtz used to link to my work on a regular basis when it appeared at Huffington Post and Salon. But I day I started working for Media Matters was the day he stopped linking to me.
That's fine. It's a big blogosphere and I'm not concerned about the MMA message not getting out. It's just humorous to watch Beltway insiders strain so mightily to avoid typing up the four words they seem to dread most: Media Matters for America.