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.
The NYT covers the completely contrived controversy about the LA Times not releasing a video that shows Barack Obama at a going away party for a university professor. (A professor who has "publicly criticized Israel," as the AP reported.) Republicans, led by online dead-enders, have convinced themselves the tape, if seen by the public, will finally reveal all that is evil about Obama.
As we noted yesterday, since when do politicians have the right to demand that news gathering orgs "release" anything? (Paging the First Amendment.....) And since the LA Times obtained the suddenly hugely/wildly/unbelievably important tape last spring (and wrote about it last spring; so much for suppressing the story) from a source on the condition it not release it, the point here is mute. The paper's not going to break its agreement just to satisfy the GOP mob.
Nonetheless, the NYT treats the story as very serious, and presents McCain's demand as a plausible one with lots of quotes from those involved. What the Times does not do, until the closing graph, is provide any kind of context regarding the GOP's outlandish request.
But that's typical of how the mainstream press treats right-wing crusades. Scared about being tagged for having a liberal bias, the press plays dumb about all kinds of right-wing attacks on the press.
BTW, the Boston Globe does a somewhat better job handling the LA Times story, mentioning, for instance, that McCain offered no proof for his claim that Bill Ayers was present to the now hugely/wildly/unbelievably important going away party; a collegiate party that McCain likened to a "neo-Nazi" event. Nice touch.
One of the things that struck us about the Minneapolis Star Tribune's coverage of the Frank/Norm Coleman race was the Strib's almost complete lack of news coverage surrounding Coleman's embarrassing Suitgate story. That's the one about a wealthy Coleman donor, Nasser Kazeminy, who had allegedly bought expensive suits for the politician at Neiman Marcus.
By our count, the Strib devoted a total of 53 words to straight news coverage to the story, even though it went national on the cable news channels. And yes, there's been all kinds of Twin City buzz that the Strib spiked a news story about Suitgate.
With that in mind, it was interesting to see a couple of Strib reporters trying to get answers from Coleman yesterday about an apparent lawsuit that suggests Coleman's wife received $75,000 wtih the help from the same Kazeminy. See the reporters in action here.
Nothing yet in the pages of the Strib about this breaking development.
UPDATE: The Nation reports on the lawsuit in question.
As Atrios accurately calls it. And guess who has the worst addiction? The press.
From Karl Rove's WSJ column today [emphasis added]:
There has been an explosion of polls this presidential election. Through yesterday, there have been 728 national polls with head-to-head matchups of the candidates, 215 in October alone. In 2004, there were just 239 matchup polls, with 67 of those in October. At this rate, there may be almost as many national polls in October of 2008 as there were during the entire year in 2004.
Suggestion: With so media companies strapped for cash, perhaps in coming election cycles they can cut back on the avalanche of often useless polling data they pay for; polling data that seem more designed to generate headlines (i.e. manufacture news), than to shed light on elections.
TNR takes a look at how the press is holding up at the end of the long campaign season:
Veterans point out that despite the length of this race, the reporters' relationships to the candidates and to each other aren't nearly as toxic as they had been in previous years. There's been little of the high school cliquishness that plagued the Kerry press corps, and reporters don't seem to loathe McCain or Obama the way they loathed Gore--who refused to hold a press conference for upwards of 60 days--in 2000.
The sympathetic article goes on and on about how long the campaign has been and how difficult it's been to cover. And how there aren't any interesting articles to write any more. (Y'think?)
But journalists get very little sympathy from us. We wrote nearly 20 months ago that the press was going way overboard with its breathless, celebrity-based campaign coverage and that the campaign, as presented by the press, was going to be unbearably long.
But that's the beast the mainstream media desperately wanted to build (because campaigns now double as entertainment content/programming) and that's the beast that had to be fed. So let's not whine about the process now.
BTW, loved the suggestion that the press loathed Gore because he wouldn't hold a press conference. Whatever you say TNR. (Fact: The press loathed Gore on the campaign trail 14 months before he ever pulled back on press conferences.)
Following last night's 30-minute, primetime broadcast, the AP's analysis was misleading and disingenuous, writes thereisnospoon at Daily: "Putting words in Obama's mouth and then attacking him for lying about the words you just made up--now that's journalism."
It's about Joe Biden and how he talks too much and says funny thing. (I know, right?)
Politico, September 22, headline, "Blue-collar vote, one gaffe at a time":
In the four weeks since becoming Barack Obama's running mate, Biden has been a reliable fount of gaffes, awkward statements and hyperbole...He seems constitutionally incapable of conforming his quirky and anachronistic political style to the punishing and unforgiving modern news cycle.
Politico, October 28, headline, "Joe the Talker: Can Biden be good until Election Day?":
For starters, the state of being Joe Biden means odd things can come out of one's mouth - sometimes harmlessly, even endearingly, but sometimes with real consequences.