• The Strib and Al Franken, cont'd

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    We mentioned earlier today that there's lot of buzz in Franken/Norm Coleman surrounding a lawsuit that suggests a wealthy Coleman donor helped the candidate's wife get $75,000.

    Still no news posted on that story by the Strib yet, but the newspaper has quickly written up a story about how Coleman, just like in his previous campaigns, is suing his opponent.

    But fear not curious Strib readers who want to learn more about the $75,000 Coleman lawsuit. You can uncover the facts in the comment section of the Strib article, where this reader update was posted:

    Breaking News: Coleman pulls a Ted Stevens

    Paul McKim, the founder and CEO of Deep Marine Technology, alleges in a civil suit that Nasser Kazeminy -- a longtime Republican donor, friend of Coleman, and DMT shareholder -- directed the company to send $75,000 to the Senator and his wife.

  • Request for David Broder

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    Enough with the town hall talk, already.

    We get it. John McCain wanted to have a series of of regularly scheduled town hall forums with Barack Obama. They never happened.

    And by now we all know the WaPo's dean of centrism was deeply disappointed by that. But four months later does Broder still need to hitting that point? In today's column, it's literally one of Broder's key take-aways from the entire campaign.

    The issue has certainly been weight heavily on his mind:

    *"That is why a pair of strategy decisions made in the past two weeks could prove troublesome for him. The first was Obama's turning down McCain's invitation to join him in a series of town hall meetings where they would appear together and answer questions from real voters." [June 22]

    *On June 4, McCain proposed 10 town-hall-style debates before screened audiences of uncommitted independent voters across the country. [Aug. 7]

    *"The matchup could have come much earlier, but Obama turned down McCain's invitation to join in a series of town hall meetings during the summer." [Sept. 21]

    *"He has been condemned for small-minded partisanship, not praised for his generous and important suggestion that the major-party candidates stump the country together, conducting weekly joint town hall meetings -- an innovation Obama urned down." [Oct. 30]

  • Are Minneapolis Star Tribune endorsements of any use?

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    Speaking of the Strib (see below), Matt Stoller has already noted the oddity of the Strib simultaneously endorsing Obama for president while backing Franken's Republican opponent, Norm Coleman, for the U.S. Senate.

    But as mnblue now points out, the Strib's other Congressional endorsements are so poorly argued and executed (Democrat Steve Sarvi wasn't even interviewed by the Strib ed board before it endorsed his GOP opponent), you have to wonder if they'll carry much weight with voters.

  • Weird Headline of the Day

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    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?

  • The WaPo's reluctance to credit Media Matters can be comical at times

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    Take today's Chris Cillizza post at The Fix about Drudge and whether the GOP-friendly Internetist's influence is waning. (Gee, where have we seen that topic discussed in recent days?)

    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.

  • NYT throws LA Times under the bus

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    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.

  • The Strib and Al Franken, cont'd

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    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.

  • Poll Porn

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    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.

  • Behold the Village

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    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.)

  • The AP and the Obama ad

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    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."