MSNBC's Mark Murray says Bob Schieffer would be "out of touch" if he brings up Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright during tonight's debate:
"I imagine that this debate will be solely about the economy and probably some other domestic issues. You mentioned whether Bob Schieffer or even John McCain might bring up Bill Ayers or even Rev. Wright. But as you look at hte stock market right now where it's actually gone down more than 400 points, it would seem to be a little out of touch to ask something like that."
If Schieffer does bring up Ayers or Wright, and doesn't also ask John McCain why he is "proud" of a his "old friend" Gordon Liddy -- a convicted felon who plotted the murder of a journalist and who has urged people to shoot law enforcement personnel -- Schieffer's objectivity will a real question.
And this wouldn't be the first time. Schieffer moderated one of the 2004 debates, despite the fact that he is a longtime friend of George W. Bush who had previously acknowledged that his personal relationship with Bush made it difficult to cover him. Schieffer's brother was a business partner of Bush's before Bush became president -- and Bush made him an ambassador.
To us, the stories have the same ring as the McCain "comeback" narrative, and that the press seems more interested in injecting some missing drama into the campaign (Obama could still lose!), than advancing real news stories.
The problem, as illustrated by the ABC story, is that despite the breathless headlines, there's very little that's news to substantiate the Bradley effect narrative, which is named after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American, who he ran for California governor in 1982 and lost, despite pre-Election Day polls showing him with a comfortable lead. The theory was that voters mislead pollsters about whether they would vote for a minority candidate.
The issue is a legitimate one for debate and discussion. It's just that in terms of the press presenting it as a burning news issue right now, there were few if any examples of The Bradley effect during the very long primary season. Polling pro's say there hasn't been a clear example of the Bradley effect in decades. And the Obama campaign claims the notion is absurd:
"I think this is a completely overblown story," said Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, saying concerns about hidden racism skewing polling data are "ridiculous."
Despite the lack of empirical evidence, the Bradley effect lives on, fueling anxiety and nervousness among many Democrats that Obama's lead will disappear on Election Day.
Updating our earlier tally, since Friday, Fox News had mentioned the community organizing group at least 556 times, according to TVeyes.com.
Let's put that in perspective and help illustrate just how obsessively over-the-top the Fox News coverage has become.
*Number of times CNN has mentioned ACORN since Friday: 67
*Number of times Fox News has mentioned Joe Biden since Friday: 130
*Number of times Fox News has mentioned Sarah Palin since Friday: 541
*Number of times Fox News has mentioned ACORN since Friday: 556
Does Times columnist Brooks regret telling the media swells at Le Cirque last week that Sarah Palin represents a "cancer" on the Republican Party and that she was clearly unqualified to be VP?
As Greg Mitchell notes today, readers of the Times have no idea because Brooks still has not addressed or explained the comments; comments that appear to contradict what he has written about Palin in the Times.
As we detailed here, it's an embarrassment for the Times to have one of its most prominent political columnists pulling his punches in print and not leveling with his readers. What else has Brooks written for the Times that may or may not believe?
The relatively straight-forward question seems to be alluding lots or reporters this week. Especially ones employed by Rupert Murdoch.
In a lengthy media analysis, the Brad Blog looks at how conservatives online are whipping themselves into a frenzy over a story that may be less than what it appears:
Those who wish to believe in the hoax, however, attempt to link to article after article about allegations of voter fraud carried out by ACORN. And yet, the articles themselves
if one bothers to actually read them
reveal that either 1) They describe allegations and investigations brought by Republican agents, with little or no evidence of any wrong doing, and certainly no "voter fraud" 2) Where voter registration fraud has occurred it has been by rogue ACORN employees, originally reported to authorities by ACORN themselves (who are the actual victims of any such fraud by their employees), or 3) Smoke and mirrors are used to cloud the fact that not a single fraudulent vote has actually been cast by anyone.
In the sense that it doesn't practices journalism. Instead, it has a long history, especially with its coverage of Democrats, of simply making stuff up whenever the moment strikes.
Today's a perfect example with a campaign article that's generating buzz online. The piece is headlined, "OBAMA FIRES A 'ROBIN HOOD' WARNING SHOT." Note how Robin Hood is in quotes.
The Post's Charles Hurt reports that during an exchange with a voter "caught on video" (note the high drama), Barack Obama, "let slip his plans to become a modern-day Robin Hood in the White House, confiscating money from the rich to give to the poor."
In fact, what Obama did was explain to a voter the theory behind his tax policy:
"My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
That's sort of Democratic Policy 101 and is hardly newsworthy. Hurt simply did his best to whip the exchange into something controversial. But back to the headline. Why did the Post put Robin Hood in quotes? Was somebody in the article quoted calling Obama Robin Hood? Maybe the voter Obama spoke to, or a tax expert?
No. In fact, the only time the phrase appeared in the article was when Hurt himself introduced it; when Hurt called Obama Robin Hood.
Which means, the Post quoted its own news reporter for the headlines to a news article.
Like we said, the Post doesn't really practice journalism as it's commonly defined.
CF has mentioned how it's in the press' best interest to see the campaign tighten up in the final weeks. And look for lots of pre-debate chatter about how tonight's debate might just do that.
The problem is the comeback talk is often bereft of any substance. It seems to be built on just a hunch, or a wish, from the press corps which wants badly for some drama to be injected back into the story.
Take Politico on Tuesday, which declared that McCain had won the day, in terms of Politico's dreadful, daily who won/who lost tabulation. Read this part of the explanation as to why McCain won the day and see if Politico's forward-looking analysis doesn't strike you as leaning heavily on the what-if:
All the public polling data – from Politico's battleground-county poll, to today's Quinnipiac swing-state polling, to the Los Angeles/Times Bloomberg poll that showed Obama up 9 points nationwide at the end of the day – still shows the Democrats with a very comfortable advantage. But as McCain-Palin gets its sea legs back, Obama-Biden may have to be a little tougher and a little more vigilant about protecting their lead in the days to come – starting at tomorrow's debate.
See, the facts tell us there has been no change in the state of the race. (Although frankly, the NYT/CBS poll released yesterday suggested the race has opened even wider for Obama.) But according to Politico, McCain could make the race closer in coming days. It's possible.
From Wednesday's Washington Times:
She's the most important political figure not on the stage Wednesday in the final presidential debate, yet Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been mentioned just once in the first three presidential and vice-presidential debates.
Maybe she hasn't been mentioned because only the press, still hunting for campaign trail drama, is still obsessing over the Clintons.
Matt Stoller wonders why.