(The defenestration of Prague 1618-Wikipedia)
I can’t honestly tell if the Palin brouhaha is causing a serious problem for the Obama campaign, but I’m pretty sure its causing one in the established media aka the MSM. I have to say that I find The Anger Factor by Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz preposterous and highly partisan. Here is his opening:
“The media are getting mad.
Whether it’s the latest back-and-forth over attack ads, the silly lipstick flap or the continuing debate over Sarah and sexism, you can just feel the tension level rising several notches.
Maybe it’s a sense that this is crunch time, that the election is on the line, that the press is being manipulated (not that there’s anything new about that).”
To this point he seems reasonably neutral, but he openly unfurls his partisan flag in the very next paragraph.
News outlets are increasingly challenging false or questionable claims by the McCain campaign, whether it’s the ad accusing Obama of supporting sex-ed for kindergartners (the Illinois legislation clearly describes “age-appropriate” programs) or Palin’s repeated boast that she stopped the Bridge to Nowhere (after she had supported it, and after Congress had effectively killed the specific earmark).
Naturally there are endless claims and counter claims about both candidates ads, but where I fall on the floor laughing is the idea that it’s the media being manipulated. As readers of this blog will know, it is my view that the raison d’etre of the media to manipulate the public. Do politicians try to manipulate them? Sure. Constantly. So I think Mr Kurtz’s anger is of the faux variety.
I believe the cause of the anger is the frustration that attacking Palin is just making people more interested in her and often sympathetic to her. In the week leading up to convention speech they even published a pure tabloid story claiming she had faked pregnancy to cover her daughter’s pregnancy. And they ignored the Edwards affair for 10 months? Pfui! And no, I am not being partisan when I point this out because the I think the sequence of events of how the media treated Hillary followed by how they are treating Palin has exposed them to new levels of skepticism. But here, let a Democrat, Hillary Clinton adviser Mark Penn, tell the story. Toward the end of this CBS News piece the interviewer suggests that the media are treating Plain with kid gloves:
CBSNews.com: Your former colleague Howard Wolfson argued that you all unintentionally paved the way for Palin by exposing some of the unfair media coverage that Hillary Clinton received. And, therefore, a lot of the media may now be treating Sarah Palin with kid gloves. Do you agree with that?
Mark Penn: Well, no, I think the people themselves saw unfair media coverage of Senator Clinton. I think if you go back, the polls reflected very clearly what “Saturday Night Live” crystallized in one of their mock debates about what was happening with the press.
I think here the media is on very dangerous ground. I think that when you see them going through every single expense report that Governor Palin ever filed, if they don’t do that for all four of the candidates, they’re on very dangerous ground. I think the media so far has been the biggest loser in this race. And they continue to have growing credibility problems.
And I think that that’s a real problem growing out of this election. The media now, all of the media — not just Fox News, that was perceived as highly partisan — but all of the media is now being viewed as partisan in one way or another. And that is an unfortunate development.
For the record newmediatheory, its non existent sponsors, hangers on and assorted groupies do not think the defenestration of the media is unfortunate. That’s right – out the window with the lot of them – they are all so into manipulation they just can’t stop. It is high time and good riddance. They have been conning and misleading us for years and it is progressively obvious to everyone. From Saturday Night Live to the family Pit Bull, Hocky Puck, who has taken to growling at the TV when the news comes on. Mark Penn is right – they all do it. The emperor isn’t a Republican or a Democrat, he is stark naked. And Mark Penn gets better:
CBSNews.com: So you think the media is being uniquely tough on Palin now?
Mark Penn: Well, I think that the media is doing the kinds of stories on Palin that they’re not doing on the other candidates. And that’s going to subject them to people concluding that they’re giving her a tougher time. Now, the media defense would be, “Yeah, we looked at these other candidates who have been in public life at an earlier time.”
What happened here very clearly is that the controversy over Palin led to 37 million Americans tuning into a vice-presidential speech, something that is unprecedented, because they wanted to see for themselves. This is an election in which the voters are going to decide for themselves. The media has lost credibility with them.