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.
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.
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.
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 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.
CJR dissected her Times column from Wednesday, noting its the unusual seriousness and the oddly earnest tone Dowd took while discussing Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama. CJR noted that readers expressed admiration for Dowd's effort, happy to see Dowd's usual snide, name-calling set aside.
Personally, we don't think a single instance of insight and poignancy can erase the mountain and trivial absurdities that Dowd has shoveled throughout the campaign. And rather than read her column and think how refreshing it was that she opted to get serious, our reaction was to ponder what a misuse of national column space her efforts have been most of the campaign season. Meaning, she could have been serious and insightful most of the time. Instead, she opted for childish and trite.
Coming right from an interview he observed between NBC's Brian Williams and John McCain and Sarah Palin, MSNBC's Todd was struck by the lack of in-person chemistry between the two Republicans.
"There was a tenseness," said Todd on MSNBC, as the Huffington Post reported. "I couldn't see chemistry between John McCain and Sarah Palin. I felt as if we grabbed two people and said 'here, sit next to each other, we are going to conduct an interview.' They are not comfortable with each other yet." (My guess is that post-election, we'll find out much more about this story.)
Then Todd wondered out loud:
"When you see the two of them together, the chemistry is just not there. You do wonder, is John McCain starting to blame her for things? Blaming himself? Is she blaming him?"
Great question. Too bad Brian Williams, who just interviewed McCain and Palin, never asked those questions.
Correction: I originally wrote, incorrectly, that Todd had been part of the NBC interview and criticized him for not asking questions about whether McCain blamed Palin. I regret the error.
Ari Melber catches the AP playing around with the space-time continuum in order to describe Barack Obama as "nervous" about GOP attacks on his foreign policy readiness.