Rebecca Traister's great piece in Salon about how women were the media stars of the `08 campaign:
In 2008, American news desks, campaign press planes and anchor chairs were crawling with women -- and not just the fascistic sylphs of Fox News and the right. Women like Dana Bash, Andrea Mitchell, Candy Crowley, Gloria Borger and Donna Brazile were feeding us our news, and the breakout stars, like [Katie] Couric, [Rachel] Maddow and [Campbell] Brown, were building audiences, asserting their perspectives on the unfolding narrative and making crafty use of the internets to stake their proprietary claim in this most surprising and enthralling of election cycles.
Ugh, this article is a piece of work.
When we last noticed Time's John Cloud he was writing a blogospheric classic in the form of a Valentine to Ann Coulter (has it really been three years?), where the hate mistress was transformed into a public intellectual.
Cloud's latest is headlined, "The Gay Mafia That's Redefining Politics." It's basically a look at a group of wealthy and influential gay men, dubbed the Cabinet, who have teamed up to raise millions of dollars to give candidates running against anti-gay opponents, and to give to organizations and PAC's that are politically aligned with the men's agenda.
That strikes us as mildly interesting, but hardly blockbuster, material. But when Time dresses the story up and shrouds it mystery with words like "secret," "secretive," "stealth," and the "complex" "web of connections," even we had our interest piqued.
Alas, the breathless tone of the piece turns out to be pointless. And so are many of the claims Cloud makes in his effort to prop up the story as a tale of nefarious influences. For instance, why is the name of the right-wing's favorite lib bogey man, George Soros, sprinkled throughout the Time story even though Soros is not connected with the Cabinet and, based on Time's reporting, has not donated a dime?
And what's with "redefining politics" headline? The Cabinet is made up of liberals giving money to liberal candidate (esp. on the state level) and to liberal orgs. As much as we wish that constituted"redefining politics" in America, that claim strikes us as absurd.
And we're not even going to mention the idiotic, law-breaking "mafia" meme. Actually, we will mention it because Cloud goes out his way to darkly note (he even quotes a Skadden Arps attorney!) that none of the Cabinet's work or donations are "illegal." But why even bring that up? There's absolutely nothing in the article to even suggest there's anything illegal going on. Again; wealthy libs raise money and then spread it around. Where does the crime-breaking angle come in?
The truth is, Cloud has to address the issue of illegality because of the hush-hush tone he uses to dress up the Cabinet up as a menacing force.
In the passage where Cloud reassures Time readers about how the Cabinet's work is legit, he adds this caveat:
And yet as the National Review's Byron York has pointed out, Americans were horrified to learn during Watergate that Richard Nixon's friend Clement Stone had donated an outrageous $2 million in cash to the President's campaign. Cabinet members have spent at least five times that amount in various races in the past four years.
First, love how Time turns to the conservative National Review writer for an un-bias assessment of liberal political activism.
Second, the comparison between the Cabinet and Nixon's pal Clement Stone clearly makes no sense because Stone made headlines in the early 1970's when it was discovered, as part of the Watergate investigation, that the millionaire insurance salesman single-handedly filled Nixon's campaign coffers with millions and millions of dollars worth of donations.
He did that by donating money to hundreds of Nixon-created front groups--which funneled the money to Nixonland--as a way to get around the legal limits in place for presidential donors. (Corner-cutting donors also got tax breaks that way.) In other words, Stone for years was pretty much oblivious to the campaign finance laws of the time.
That's who Cloud uses as a comparison for the Cabinet, which, as far as the Time article reports, doesn't even give money to Democratic presidential candidates. Plus, Cloud provides zero proof that the Cabinet is using front groups to bypass established law the way Stone brazenly did. Yet Cloud eagerly quotes from a conservative in order to make the phony comparison between the two; a single donor who skirted the law, and a group of men who abide by it.
Like we said, this article is a piece of work.
Michael Savage said Sen. Barack Obama "benefited from affirmative action, stepping over more qualified white men, I actually lost as a result of affirmative action, many times in my life. ... [W]e have America's first affirmative action candidate about to become president."
The Washington Times quoted Sen. John McCain saying of Rep. John Lewis: "Here, a guy I admire and respect, a hero of the civil rights movement, saying, making a statement that somehow [Governor Sarah] Palin and I are involved in segregationist behavior, I mean, is beyond reason. In the debate the other night, Barack Obama refused to repudiate those remarks." But the Times did not quote Obama's actual comments during the final debate: that Lewis "inappropriately drew a comparison between what was happening" at McCain-Palin events and "what had happened during the civil rights movement."
Discussing the history of taxation and property rights in the United States, War Room with Quinn & Rose co-host Jim Quinn declared: "Originally, if you didn't own land, you didn't vote, and there was a good reason for it: because those without property will always vote away the property of other people unto themselves, and that's the beginning of the end." Quinn added: "But, oh no, that was -- that was just too mean-spirited."
On his radio show, Bill Cunningham asked Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, "[I]f Obama was white as chalk, do you think that [Colin] Powell would be endorsing the Democrat? He didn't endorse Gore, he didn't endorse Kerry. I think color trumps everything in his mind." Peterson responded: "That's right, because if it was about what Barack Obama stood for, then he would have endorsed Gore and all those guys, but he did not. You know, it's so sad, my friend, that most black people today are racist. Not all, not all -- but most of them are racist."
On his radio show, Michael Savage said, "Do you think Colin Powell came out for BO [Sen. Barack Obama] because of his race? Duh." He later added: "[F]orgive me for being so blunt -- but it seems to Michael Savage that the only people who don't seem to vote based on race are white people of European origin."
Quinn & Rose co-host Rose Tennent asserted that former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Sen. Barack Obama "because he doesn't want to be known as an Uncle Tom anymore. He wants to be black again." Co-host Jim Quinn later said of Powell, "He's tired of being called an Oreo."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews, responding to Rush Limbaugh's claims that Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama was all "about race":
"I don't know how you get into this tribalist talk. We could make all kinds of assumptions, but we have no knowledge of a person's inner beliefs. ... You know what drives me crazy? When somebody says "well, I know you're Catholic, so you must believe this.' Or 'I know you're jewish, you must believe this.' Or 'I know you're black, you must believe this.' Give us all a break, Rush. Let us think. Let us think. Let us decide."
That's quite a shift from April, when Matthews said:
What is the Catholic vote, Mike Barnicle? It isn't like a vote like, for example, if you're a Jewish voter probably you care about Israel, that's a safe bet. You have one key concern. I can't think of other groups that would make it that simple. But clearly, if you're African-American, you care about civil rights. You care about certain programs of the federal government. That's a generalization, but probably true. You're more progressive. But Catholics -- where would you put them? Is there a squirrel box or a rabbit hole you can put them in politically?
And from March, when he said of Obama: "this gets very ethnic, but the fact that he's good at basketball doesn't surprise anybody, but the fact that he's that terrible at bowling does make you wonder."
There's an online push to get NBC to look beyond middle-aged white men when it fills the Meet the Press moderator chair following the election season:
"Meet the Press" is the number one rated Sunday morning public affairs program. The program influences the outcome of elections, advances public policy and enhances the prestige of invited guests. It is no longer acceptable to lock women and people of color out of the corridors of power.
Here's where you can sign the petition.
We earlier noted that the press is spending an awful lot of time hyping the so-called Bradley effect and leaning heavily on the idea that Obama's big lead could still evaporate.
We noted the oddity of so many Bradley effect reports sprouting up despite the lack of evidence that it's been seen in America in decades. To us, the press attention seems more like an easy way to inject some drama into the increasingly drama-less campaign.
The latest to tackle to topic is Time and we're not sure whether to praise or mock its effort. We'd mock Time because it manages to join the media caravan detailing the somewhat soggy story:
Politicos are abuzz over the last hurdle Obama must clear in his path to the presidency: a phenomenon known as the "Bradley effect."
But we'd praise Time because it concludes:
The Bradley effect may be this fall's paper tiger: an old theory re-heated by the media because there's not much left to talk about.
For the record, Time thinks the Bradley effect is just a way for the press to juice up the campaign storyline. So Time then spends time addressing the Bradley effect.