Discussing reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state, several media figures have responded with smears, including speculation that Clinton would pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not Obama's, references to Clinton as Obama's "enem[y]," and speculation that Obama is considering the nomination because if Clinton remains in the Senate, she poses a threat of challenging him for the Democratic nomination in 2012 and can "mak[e] trouble" for him in the Senate.
We noted earlier the several blotches that appeared in the Friday Times article about the Al Franken/Norm Coleman recount. We didn't' like the way the article was heavily favored in terms of quoting and referencing Coleman supporters, and how the Times gave a platform to the GOP claim (completely unsubstantiated) that the race was being "stolen." And how the newspaper even quoted Sean Hannity, as if his propaganda had any relevance in the recount.
Now we find out that a person quoted in the Times piece and presented as sort of an Everyman Minnesota voter (who, by the way, came down on the side of Coleman), actually has close ties to the GOP. Worse, the Everyman voter says he explained his GOP connection to the Times reporter and that even the Everyman voter was surprised when his GOP ties were not mentioned in the Times article.
Go read more here. It's not pretty folks.
Chris Matthews echoed the discredited rumor that 32 ballots from Minneapolis were mishandled in the Minnesota Senate race. Matthews asked: "What about these absentee ballots that were found in somebody's back seat and they're now counting them as official -- what is that about? That sounds pretty squirrely or sneaky or what -- I don't know what it sounds like." In fact, a lawyer for Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has reportedly said regarding those ballots that "[i]t does not appear that there was any ballot-tampering, and that was our concern."
Bill O'Reilly claimed that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (D) was "actively rooting for Al Franken" in the Senate race between Franken and incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and that "the fix is in." But O'Reilly did not note that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty approved of the composition of the canvassing board Ritchie named to certify the vote and oversee the recount or that a lawyer for Coleman's campaign reportedly said that the "state should feel good about who's on the panel."
The New York Times reported that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, "who is in charge of the recount" in the Minnesota Senate race between Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, "lamented the campaigns' 'hand grenades at each other,' " adding: "But as a well-known Democrat, he has not eluded those grenades, with Republicans strongly questioning his objectivity." But the Times did not note that Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty said that the canvassing board Ritchie named to certify the vote overseeing the recount was "fair" and that a lawyer for Coleman's campaign also reportedly said that the "state should feel good about who's on the panel."
Just before Election Day, we noted that the editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, in preperation for the final showdown between Al Franken and Norm Coleman, ordered the paper's local columnists, whose work appeared in the news pages, to "refrain refrain from partisan political commentary in their columns on the news pages, at least until after the election."
The editor was quite clear:
For the duration of the campaign, we will not run any columns on the news pages that support or attack one candidate or the other or take a strong partisan stand.
We thought that was a bit odd (aren't pundits supposed to opine about campaigns?), but if that was the ground rule set down, so be it. But the question now is, does the edict still stand? Because technically, the election is not over since Minnesota is about to begin a lengthy recount of the hyper-close race.
And if the Strib editor didn't want to overly influence the public's perception of the campaign, wouldn't that still apply during the contentious recount process?
We ask because we saw that Strib's in-house Dem critic, Katherine Kersten, just published a column critical of Minnesota's Democratic Secretary of State who is oveseeing the recournt. Does the Strib have its thumb on the scale?
Dan Kennedy at Media Nation can't recall a time when pointless speculation for the next presidential election cycle basically began 24 hours after the most recent one concluded.
Neither can we. But it seems to be part of the Beltway press' desire for a truly permanent campaign industry. The press, as you recall, criticizes politicians (and especially a certain former Democratic president) for adopting permanent campaign mode. For obsessing over politics and never fully turning their attention to governing.
But now the press, addicted to the attention that campaign seasons bring them (i.e. TV face time and book deals), and coming off an unprecedented 22-month White House campaign season, seems unwilling to walk away.
And note that this desire for endless campaign coverage runs counter to the interest of news consumers. As we mentioned yesterday, when post-election news consumers were recently asked if they'd miss following campaign news, an astounding 82 percent said no.
The top of this article seems fine as the reporter outlines the extraordinarily close recount race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. But boy, the piece completely falls apart as the Times' Christina Capecchi stuffs the second half of the dispatch with right-wing talk points presented by right-wing talking heads.
*The article quotes Coleman's election attorney who accuses the Franken camp of vote-counting ""shenanigans," but requires the attorney to provide not proof/examples.
*In addressing the fact that the Secretary of State overseeing the recount is a Democrat (last time we checked that was allowed), the Times reports that Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten traced the official's "ties to liberal Democratic groups."
The Times though, doesn't bother to note that Kersten is a right-winger who smeared Franken right before Election Day as a "slanderer of Christianity." She's hardly a source worth citing in the New York Times.
*Speaking of dubious sources, the Times also quotes Sean Hannity who claims there's some "fishy business" unfolding in Minnesota. This has been the right-wing mantra all week: Dems are trying to "steal" the Minnesota election. The proof? There is none, which means there's absolutely no reason for the newspaper to be legitimize that kinds of GOP conspiracy talk.
In total, the Times article quotes or references six Coleman supporters but just one Franken backer.
The Franken/Coleman recount is going to be a lengthy process. Let's hope the Times can improve its coverage.
Several conservative talk radio hosts have accused Democrats of "trying to steal" the Minnesota senatorial election for Democratic challenger Al Franken over incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R). They offer no evidence for the accusation; indeed, the state's Republican governor has said there is none.
In a report on NBC's Today about the Minnesota Senate race, Lee Cowan repeated the discredited rumor that "ballots have suddenly appeared out of nowhere, including some found unsecured in an election worker's car." In fact, according to election officials quoted in news reports, the ballots did not "suddenly appear out of nowhere," and they weren't "unsecured." Cowan also aired a statement by Fritz Knaak, a lawyer for Sen. Norm Coleman, apparently critical of the handling of the ballots in question, but he didn't report previous statements in which Knaak reportedly said he felt assured that the ballots weren't compromised.
The Wall Street Journal, Sean Hannity, and Brit Hume advanced rumors that 32 absentee ballots in Minnesota's Senate election were left in a car and mishandled, suggesting that election officials may have tampered with votes in an effort to benefit Al Franken. The claims followed similar allegations by Coleman campaign lawyer Fritz Knaak. However, none of the three mentioned that Knaak reportedly said later, "It does not appear that there was any ballot-tampering, and that was our concern." Further, election officials have repeatedly said the ballots were sealed and held in a secure location until they were counted.
The Politico falsely reported that "in a background document distributed by national Republicans," the National Republican Senatorial Committee "accuses" Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie "of having connections to ... the Communist Party of America." However, the NRSC "background document" to which the Politico presumably referred did not accuse Ritchie of "connections" to the Communist Party USA -- claiming only that "[t]he Communist Party USA wrote encouragingly of his candidacy" -- and insofar as the document's reference to the Communist Party USA suggested a link to Ritchie, it did not back up the suggestion with any evidence.
Experts confirm, post-election, that the voting phenomena doesn't exist in America, just as the experts insisted pre-election. But that didn't stop the press for producing an absolute avalanche of of non-stop stories about the Bradley effect, in what seemed to be a rather transparent attempt to inject some drama into the drama-less election during the home stretch. (Obama might lose!)
Also, please also note that the press, when now confirming the Bradley effect didn't show itself on Election Day, insists it was voters and academics who hyped the non-story in recent weeks, not the press.
The two are locked in what could be, statistically based on the total number of votes cast, the closest U.S. senate race in history. A recount is underway. And it's a recount required by state law, because the vote was so close. In fact, Coleman's original margin of victory, 725 votes (out of 2.9 million cast), has already shrunk to 236 votes.
So why this Strib headline today [emphasis added]? "Sen. Norm Coleman's Democratic challenger is vowing to push ahead with a recount".
Why the "vowing" language, which makes it seem like Franken's just being a sore loser? Under Minnesota law, recounts are required if the final margin of victory is less than one-half of 1 percent. In the case of Franken/Coleman, the margin's .01 percent. So of course there's going to be a recount.
Also under state law, the person trailing can request that the recount not go forward. But considering there's already been a 500 vote shift in the process, naturally Franken's not going to do that.
Seems to us that once again, the Strib has its thumb on the scale while covering this race.
Fox News repeatedly aired graphics that purported to show "POLL CLOSINGS" in Eastern Standard Time for each state. But in states that cross time zones, the times listed in the graphics reflected the western-most time zone in the state, which could result in people watching Fox News in the eastern portion of some states being left with the impression that local polls would be open for an hour after they actually close.