• The guy who writes about TV gets it

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Over at, they're liveblogging the debate with two people, somebody who writes about politics (that's Karen Tumulty) with somebody who watches TV for a living (that's Jim Poniewozik). And wouldn't you know, it's the TV writer who makes this key point. After he referred to how McCain had "suspended" his campaign, Poniewozik explained the use of quotation marks around the word suspended:

    The quotation marks need to be used, because this term has been parroted too uncritically. McCain has given interviews, done speeches, run ads, raised money and sent out surrogates. Essentially the man took a plane ride and got the media to call it a suspension.


  • Chris Matthews, sunglasses-wearing elite?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Here's MSNBC's Chris Matthews, moments ago, suggesting Barack Obama is "elite" in part because Obama was wearing sunglasses:

    Can Barack Obama, a man of elite education if not elite background, break into the middle class and talk regular? Can he talk to regular people in their kitchens tonight, in their living rooms?


    Everybody thinks Barack is too cool. In other words, there he is with the shades, getting on the plane. A little bit too elegant, a little bit too proud of his own bearing. Is that a problem, that he's just too cool for words. In other words, elite.

    And here's MSNBC's Chris Matthews, sitting beside the pool outside his Nantucket vacation home, wearing sunglasses:

    Chris Matthews Nantucket Pool Sunglasses

  • CNN's Jessica Yelin can't quite put her finger on it

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    She reported from Congress tonight and summed up the status of the bailout negotiations, which hit a major snag on Thursday but seem to be progressing more smoothly now.

    Yellin concluded her update by saying: "The attitude here is nobody can really explain what went wrong yesterday but now they're back on track." [Emphasis added.]

    Hmm, what was different about Thursday and Friday in Washington? Who made a surprise appearance Thursday when the bailout talks fell apart but left Washington today? Hmmm.

  • Ambinder spins for McCain

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Earlier today, Marc Ambinder described an Obama campaign memo this way: "If it's 2pm the day of the debate, it must be an expectations-lowering memo."

    Just a few hours later, he engaged in some expectations-lowering of his own -- on behalf of John McCain.


    McCain has spent a lot less time preparing for this debate than Obama owing to McCain's decision to suspend his campaign and return to Washington.

    We'll probably see a lot of assertions like this, but how do reporters know it is true? McCain didn't actually return to Washington until yesterday afternoon -- and he was at home by 6 pm. Besides which, he can do debate prep from anywhere. So how does Marc Ambinder -- or anyone else -- know how much time the candidates spent preparing for the debate? Particularly with enough certainty to announce that one has spent "a lot less time" than the other?

    Also: John McCain didn't suspend his campaign. Anyone who says he did isn't telling the truth.

    And Marc Ambinder knows McCain didn't suspend his campaign. Here's what Ambinder wrote yesterday: "The campaign is 'suspended,' although we know it's a partial suspension of some activities designed to look like a full-scale suspension."

    So, in a single sentance, Ambinder wrote something he knows isn't true, and something he cannot know is true -- both of which help McCain.

  • AP Troopergate article omits AG's ties to Palin

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    A new Associated Press article about seven top aides to Sarah Palin defying a subpoena in the Alaska Troopergate probe notes that the state Senate Judiciary chairman who threatened to hold the aides in contempt is a Democrat.

    Fair enough.

    Then, in the next paragraph, the article noted that the state's Attorney General "filed a lawsuit on behalf of the seven state workers Thursday challenging the subpoenas. He claims the committee has no jurisdiction to issue subpoenas in the investigation."

    But nowhere does the article tell readers that the Attorney General is a Republican ... a Republican who was appointed by Sarah Palin.

  • Correcting AP's false Biden/Palin comparison

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Michael Calderone at Politico flags the wire service for trying to suggest Biden recently kept journalists at bay just like Palin has.

    And yikes, even Fox News claims AP got the Biden/press story wrong.

    Meanwhile, Greg Pollowitz needs to update his National Review's Media Blog. He chided Biden -- and the media -- based on that initial, false AP report.

  • The name of McCain's plane is newsworthy?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    A County Fair readers points out the absurdity of the Washington Post today inserting the name of McCain's campaign plane into a news article about delicate bailout negotiations:

    McCain's "Straight Talk Air" landed at Reagan National Airport just after noon, and his motorcade headed toward the Senate.

    Compare that with how the New York Times handled the same set of facts:

    Mr. McCain's campaign plane landed in Washington shortly before noon, when there was already tentative word of a bailout deal before he even set foot in the Capitol.

    It seems obvious that by including the boosterish name of McCain's plane, the Post was simply inserting campaign talking point into a news story and propping up, on behalf of the candidate, his preferred image of a straight talker.