• Jim Geraghty Comes Undone

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Last week, I explained the problem with assuming that voter registration forms for voters with "funny" names:

    That's Drudge's point here - Hahahaha, they tried to register Mickey Mouse! Fools! But here's the thing: there are 32 people named "Mickey Mouse" listed in the White Pages nationwide, including two in Florida ... On MSNBC, NBC deputy political director Mark Murray just referred to "Harry Potter" and "Han Solo" as other obviously fake names. There are 77 Harry Potters in the White Pages. No Han Solos, but there is a Hans Solo. And 8 Luke Skywalkers. This is really simple: You cannot tell that a voter registration form is illegitimate based solely on the name.

    As I noted at the time, the United States is a nation of 300 million people. They aren't all named Fred Jones. Assuming that a name is fake just because it is unusual, or "funny," or the same as the name of a celebrity, is nothing short of stupid.

    Unfortunately, that's a lesson some people have to learn the hard way. Jed L at Daily Kos points out that the National Review's Jim Geraghty made a fool of himself by mocking American Prospect writer Adam Serwer based on just such an assumption:

    Now, unless A. Serwer thinks that there is actually a registered voter named "Duran Duran" in New Mexico, he ought to refrain from sputtering that those who disagree with him are 'racist' and 'paranoid.'

    You see where this is going, don't you? Yep.

    Here's Geraghty's follow-up:

    UPDATE: I am floored by the fact that the white pages for Albuquereque, New Mexico has a listing for "Duran Duran." Mea culpa.

  • About CNN's Palin interview

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Linda Bergthold was not impressed by the work of CNN's Drew Griffin:

    Griffin allowed her to openly lie about a number of issues without any interruption or challenge. She claimed Obama had never reached across the aisle to work with Republicans, even though his work with Sen. Dick Lugar on nuclear weapons is well documented. . She lied about Obama's tax plan over and over again, saying that he will tax ordinary Americans and small businesses, even though he as clearly stated he will not do that.

  • Bill O'Reilly irony alert

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    He complains about the threats he receives, telling the New York Daily News they're the "real drawback" of his job. "I have to have bodyguards and security, so that's not fun."

    No fun, indeed. But recall last year it was on that a fan of his made threats on Hillary Clinton's life: "If [Hillary] wins... my guns are loaded."

  • Sunday papers

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    CJR takes a much-needed look at a key, overlooked media story from the campaign season. It's about the way newspapers provided wholesale distribution (at a cost, naturally) to 22 million homes in swing states for a right-wing documentary about the evils of Islam, Obsession.

    And how newspapers themselves then provided free publicity in the form of news coverage to document the controversy being kicked up by newspapers distributing the DVD.

    Most publishers insisted they had no choice but to cash the right-wing checks and ship out the DVD's because newspaper can't censor advertisers. But as one readers asked in a letter to a North Carolina newspaper, "Are you planning to accept money from those who would like to stir up hatred against immigrants from Mexico?"

    Decades ago, conservative activists moved to the forefront of information wars when they embraced direct mail as a way to spread propaganda. Do newspaper inserts represent the next chapter?

  • Why Politico, why?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    We've already noted how dopey we think Politico's daily tabulation is of which candidate "won" each day. We think it's dopey because it seems to be such an obviously bad, forced idea to declare at dinner time every night who "won" that day.

    It's a bad idea because most days on the campaign trail are not won or lost. But journalists obsessed with the horse race are determined to pretend that each day a victor emerges. (Why stop a daily winners? Why not announce which candidate won each passing hour?)

    Instead, we'd guess that between September 1, and November 4, there will probably end up being just five or six truly important, momentum-changing days on the trail. (We're thinking of the afternoon McCain "suspended" his campaign as an example.) As for the other 50+, they'll end up looking pretty much just like each other, with no winners or losers.

    Nonetheless, Politico persists with its manic who's-up-who's-down approach (i.e. insert manufactured drama here) and pretends to be able to pick the winners and losers. So let's take a look at how the tea leaf-readers at Politico arbitrarily decided that McCain had "won" Tuesday.

    According to Politico, the Republican ticket won because (and this was the only proof presented) Sarah Palin picked up a comment Joe Biden made over the weekend about how he and Barack Obama would be tested with an "international crisis" within six months of taking office. Palin ridiculed Biden during her stump speech.

    Politico conceded the Biden comments did not constitute a gaffe and that put in context they were "pretty tame." And yes, Politico mentioned that on Tuesday new polling data from Pew Research showed Obama up 14 among likely voters.

    But because Palin made a passing reference to to the "crisis" comment in a speech, that meant Republican "won" the day.

    Did we mention this exercises is dopey?

  • Bloggers take a bow

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The blogosphere doesn't do history. Certainly not its own. It's hard enough to remember what was posted last week, let alone the debates waged and initiatives launched last year.

    Over the Huffington Post, blog guru Peter Daou, looking ahead to Election Day, starts putting some of the blogosphere's recent accomplishments in perspective.

    Go read the whole thing. Here's a sample:

    We should acknowledge that the netroots kept hope alive when our system of checks and balances was in mortal danger, kept hope alive when civil liberties were fast becoming disposable niceties. We should realize that back when Billmon and Bob Somerby and a gentle soul with a sharp pen named Steve Gilliard were required reading, when Digby was a mystery man and Firedoglake was a new blog with an intriguing name, when citizens across the country began logging on and conversing from the heart, there was no glory in political blogging. There still isn't. No one knew if blogs would become quaint artifacts. Many hoped they would. Blogging was about speaking up for America's guiding principles, liberty, justice, equality, opportunity, democracy.

  • Drudge unplugged: How his campaign influence has collapsed

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    It's obvious that since Wall Street's meltdown commenced five weeks ago, and since America's economic crisis became a tsunami of a news story that's not only dominated the media landscape, but also irrevocably altered the course of the campaign, the Drudge Report has become largely irrelevant in terms of the setting the news agenda for the White House run.

    That's because a story like the unfolding credit crisis -- sober and complicated -- knocks Drudge completely out of his element of frivolous, partisan gotcha links.

    Read more here.

  • Journalists heart tactics

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    And that's what we find so depressing about the nearly two-year-long coverage of the current campaign. That huge, sweeping portions of it were devoted to nothing more than insider tactic talk. What a waste.

    The trend actually seems to be intensifying (if that's possible) as we hit the homestretch. From

    The coverage is also taking on an increasingly tactical lens in the final days. Last week, attention to tactics and strategy-including McCain's invocation of the plumber to represent the working man-accounted for 26% of the newshole, making that general theme the biggest component of the week's election coverage. Coverage of these strategic aspects of the race included the fight over key battleground states (7%) and the parade of polls, including numerous daily tracking surveys, at 5%.

    We think the survey actually underplayed the tactics count because it did not include all the debate coverage as part of that category, even though debate chatter is overwhelmingly tactics-based.

    Meanwhile, note what's been left on the newsroom floor [emphasis added]:

    The economic crisis and elements of the economy not directly related to that crisis combined for 13%. After that, all other policy discussions accounted for a total of 3% of the newshole. The subjects of health care, terrorism and security issues, Iraq, and Afghanistan, each accounted for less than 1% of the election coverage.