07 September, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Yup. The romance between McCain and the media is definitely showing signs of strain:
At this point, [Time Magazine's Joe] Klein just sounds disgusted with the entire Republican campaign operation.

Maybe I'm getting old, maybe it's that I've seen this act so often before, maybe it's that the people I talk to when I go out on the road really are having a harder time paying for things like health care, gasoline and college tuition, but I'm finding the Republican attempts to derail the conversation from the actual state of the country really depressing and disgraceful this year. They practice Orwellian politics of the crudest sort. They are trying to sell a big lie -- that the election is about the social issues of the 1960s, or Barack Obama's patriotism or his eloquence, or the "angry left," when it's really about turning toward a more moderate path after the ideological radicalism and malfeasance of the past eight years.

I'm hearing this kind of disillusionment and this willingness to use the word "lie" more and more frequently as the campaign drags on. I do believe we may - may - have reached a turning point. The media may stop jumping every time the GOP says "Frog!"

They're going to need some schooling. They've been believing every word out of St. John's mouth for so long that they haven't kept up on all of the lies - such as McCain's current claim that he knew the Surge would work all along. Faux News' Chris Wallace either isn't aware or doesn't give a rat's ass about the facts:

This morning on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace challenged Obama campaign manager David Axelrod’s assertion that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) did not expect the surge to reduce violence in Iraq so significantly. Wallace asked, ‘Where did John McCain ever say the troop surge — “I’m going to support it but I don’t know that it’s going to really work?’”


In fact, on several occasions, McCain expressed his support for the surge while suggesting that he didn’t know if it was “going to really work.” McCain doubted the surge was large enough to significantly alter the status quo in Iraq. As the surge got underway, he argued:

– The surge is not large enough to make a difference. In January 2007, McCain said on NBC’s Meet the Press, “I am concerned about it, whether it is sufficient numbers or not. I would have liked to have seen more. … But do I believe that if it had been up to me would there have been more? Yes.”

– Maliki is not strong enough to bring about political reconciliation. In February 2007, McCain said on the floor of the U.S. Senate, “I am very nervous about this new strategy. I am very doubtful that we have enough troops.
I don’t know if the Maliki government will be strong enough.”

There and there, Chris. And the only reason I'm cutting you a break and not calling you a bald-faced propaganda pusher is this:

Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace tried to pin down a straight answer on Palin’s bridge position from McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. When Davis refused to acknowledge Palin’s misleading statements, Wallace detailed her support for millions of dollars in earmarks, including the bridge:

WALLACE: During her 1.5, 2 years as Governor, Alaska continued to get more federal money for pork-barrel projects per capita than any state in the country and…she supported the Bridge to Nowhere. And it was only after the federal government dropped it out, killed it, the Congress killed it that she then opposed it. And in fact she still got the money for the approach, the ramp to the Bridge to Nowhere.

See? That journalism stuff's not so hard, now, is it? You can do it!

David Broder's going to need remedial courses:

The Washington Post's David Broder continues to hold John McCain in the highest regard.

With the McCain family military tradition and the high patriotism forged by his own prisoner-of-war experience, McCain -- like the heroes of FDR's and Truman's time - disdains partisanship and searches for the national interest, wherever he can find it.

Maybe he's thinking of a different John McCain.

"During lunch, McCain said, almost with mischievous glee, that he had slipped some highly technical questions to [James McClure] to ask Mofford -- questions she wouldn't be prepared to answer or expected to answer.

"Flabbergasted, I asked McCain why would he want to sabotage Mofford's testimony, when in fact the CAP was the nonpartisan pet of Republicans and Democrats -- such as far-left Udall and far-right Goldwater -- since its inception.

"His reply, as near as I remember, was, 'I'll embarrass a Democrat any time I get the chance.'"

This notion that McCain "disdains partisanship" is a myth he's worked hard to cultivate. It's also completely wrong, as those of us who've watched the campaign know.

And the Washington Post is going to need lessons on the true meaning of balance:

I tend to like the fact-checking work the Washington Post's Michael Dobbs has done over the course of the campaign, but this morning, he published an item about "some of the more questionable claims" that didn't quite work. For example, there's this quote from Joe Biden:

"In the Senate, John [McCain] has voted with President Bush 95 percent. And that is very hard to believe."

The claim isn't quite right to Dobbs, because, he argued, McCain supported the Bush administration position 95% in 2007, but 90% since Bush took office. As Dobbs sees it, Biden was imprecise, and therefore, the claim is "questionable."

He then notes this quote from Sarah Palin:

"I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that Bridge to Nowhere."

Dobbs explains that Palin "is overstating her opposition." That's an exceedingly polite way of saying she isn't telling the truth at all -- Palin supported the bridge project, campaigned on a pledge to build the bridge project, and took the federal money even after the project was scrapped. What's more, she didn't "champion reform" of congressional earmarks, Palin hired a lobbyist to help get her town $27 million in pork-barrel projects, some of which were condemned by none other than John McCain.

Balanced reporting does not mean that you match every "he said" with a "she said." It means that you report things as they are. If one party is a bunch of lying crooks and the other party isn't, it's still balanced reporting to say so.

But they're getting closer. You can see signs that they're at least attempting to call bullshit. Here's hoping McCain pisses them off enough to remind them they're journalists, not a fucking fan club.

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