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  • We love CJR....

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    And we link to their excellent campaign media analysis all the time, but we think they got this one wrong. In its item, "Tongue Tied on Religion," CJR criticizes a recent CNN report on Palin's religious beliefs (i.e. as a member of the Wasilla Assembly of God Pentecostal Church) because CNN treats members as odd because they "believe in the end times, a violent upheaval in the world that will bring the second coming of Jesus."

    CJR, suggesting CNN went astray, writes, "Hmmm, don't most Christians believe that? Isn't that the Book of Revelations?"

    The point regarding Palin is, as she tells people in Alaska, she believe the Second Coming will occur in her lifetime. That not only puts her outside the American mainstream in terms of religious beliefs, but it raises all kinds of questions about how her faith might affect her public policy. Meaning, does she not care about drilling all the oil out of Alaska because energy policy isn't going to matter after Christ's return? Would she not shy away from engaging in military conflict in the Middle East since for some, that's a pre-determined sign that Jesus is returning?

    These are legitimate news questions that many reporter have shied away from, we think, precisely because if they raise them they will be criticized for being anti-religion, or condescending toward faith, which is what CJR suggests CNN did in its Palin report.

  • AP plays along with McCain "lipstick" spin

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    The AP's Nedra Pickler credulously reports the McCain campaign's claims to be outraged that Barack Obama used the expression "lipstick on a pig":

    Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama told an audience Tuesday that GOP presidential nominee John McCain says he'll change Washington, but he's just like President Bush.

    "You can put lipstick on a pig," he said to an outbreak of laughter, shouts and raucous applause from his audience, clearly drawing a connection to Palin's joke. "It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink after eight years."

    McCain's campaign immediately organized a telephone conference call in response and called on Obama to apologize for calling Palin a pig.

    But in her rush to type up the McCain campaign's attacks and bring them to her readers all but unfiltered, Pickler apparently didn't bother to check to see if John McCain himself has used the expression "lipstick on a pig." It is, after all, a pretty common expression.

    Sure enough, John McCain used the very same phrase just last year in talking about ... Hillary Clinton:

    McCain criticized Democratic contenders for offering what he called costly universal health care proposals that require too much government regulation. While he said he had not studied Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's health-care plan, he said it was "eerily reminiscent" of the failed plan she offered as first lady in the early 1990s.

    "I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," he said of her proposal.

    Seems like something that ought to be in the AP article, doesn't it?

  • Politico helps push the phony "Lipstick on a pig" story

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    In an article about how Democrats are supposedly unloading on McCain's VP pick and are "intensifying their attacks on Sarah Palin," Politico included reference to the fact that on Tuesday Obama derided the McCain-Palin reform rhetoric by saying, "You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig."

    But even Politico conceded that comment was not targeted at Palin personally. (i.e. Obama certainly was not calling her a pig.) So why would Politico include that quote in an article about "personal attacks" on Palin?

    We're not sure why. But we do know Politico got a Drudge link out of the deal.

  • The wrong question

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    MSNBC's David Shuster to NBC deputy political director Mark Murray:

    Sarah Palin again repeating that line about 'thanks but no thanks' on the bridge to nowhere, despite all the media reports that said she actually supported the bridge. She's claiming again about the plane being on eBay although in fact it wasn't sold on eBay. Explain what the political benefit could be for Republicans to essentially say "you know what, we don't care what the media thinks, or says, we're just going to have her repeat these lines anyway."

    Seems like it's about time for the media to start asking if there is a political danger for Republicans if they keep lying, doesn't it?

  • More tame Bridge reporting

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    This time from an update posted at washingtonpost.com, headlined, "Palin Defends 'Bridge to Nowhere' Claims."

    If only that were the case. Rather than Palin defending her Bridge claim by actually engaging with reporters about the issue, readers discover that Palin on Tuesday simply repeated, yet again, that she opposed Alaska's infamous Bridge to Nowhere. In truth, she did not.

    But you know what? She's going to make that claim on Wednesday and Thursday, too. That's not going to be a case of Palin defending her Bridge claim, that will be Palin simply regurgitating her Bridge claim. The press ought to distinguish between the two.