The mag offers up five solid ways to overhaul to outdated prez debate formats. We like No. 2 in particular: "Refuse to send any repoters to any candidate's "spin room" after the debate ends."
On the CBS Evening News, Chip Reid uncritically aired video of Sen. John McCain claiming that the "crisis on Wall Street, my friends, started in the Washington culture of lobbying and influence-peddling, and [Sen. Barack Obama] was right square in the middle of it." However, Reid did not mention McCain's own ties to the "Washington culture of lobbying." According to a Mother Jones report, "at least 83" McCain aides, policy advisers, or fundraisers "have in recent years lobbied for the financial industry McCain now attacks."
Key words and phrases about Joe Biden from the Times' distinctly unserious A1 piece on Saturday:
-"flailing his arms"
-"penchant for verbal rambling"
-"part of the national political furniture for decades"
-"His skin is perma-tanned"
NYTimes today has an item about how the Obama campaign sent out a fundraising plea that mentioned the week's financial crisis and how the GOP attacked that as being tacky. Or, "the definition of political opportunism."
But why didn't the Times mention, as reported yesterday at the Huffington Post, that the McCain camp this week has also sent out fundraising requests that mention the ongoing financial crisis?
On Race for the White House, David Gregory aired a clip of Michelle Obama saying, "People shouldn't make a decision this time based on, 'I like that guy.' Or, you know, 'She's cute.' " Afterward, Gregory baselessly asserted, "She was talking about Governor Palin." At no point during the segment did Gregory note that Obama followed that comment by saying, "I'm talking about me."
The Associated Press reported that Sen. John McCain "says all options must be considered to stave off insolvency for the government insurance and retirement program [Social Security], and top McCain advisers say that includes so-called personal retirement accounts like those President Bush pushed in 2005 but abandoned in the face of congressional opposition." In fact, the Bush administration itself has admitted that private accounts themselves would do nothing to address Social Security's projected long-term revenue shortfall.
The Los Angeles Times reported, "[Sen. Barack] Obama has not taken a position on AIG's rescue, unlike [Sen. John] McCain, who has backed it." But the Times did not point out that the day before the bailout was announced, McCain indicated that he opposed a federal government bailout of AIG, asserting that "we cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else."
The Pulitzer Prizer-winner wonders why reporters don't ask McCain about his long-time legislative efforts to bury important information about Vietnam POW's. In his lengthy, well-researched investigation Schanberg notes:
John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.
In articles about the presidential candidates' responses to the economic crisis, several media outlets reported that the McCain campaign has attacked Sen. Barack Obama for what it says are his ties to lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, without noting that several senior McCain campaign aides have lobbied for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or both.
The media have for months reported complaints by the McCain campaign that they have favored his opponent in their coverage of the presidential race, while making little attempt to assess the accuracy of those complaints or to confirm or refute them. But in a review of the media's coverage of two stories negatively affecting or reflecting on Sen. Barack Obama and two stories negatively affecting or reflecting on Sen. John McCain -- specifically Obama's ties to Bill Ayers and Antoin Rezko, and McCain's dealings with donors whom he reportedly benefited and his association with G. Gordon Liddy -- Media Matters found that the five major newspapers and the three evening network news broadcasts have frequently mentioned Obama's ties to Ayers and Rezko, but have rarely mentioned McCain's dealings with donors and have ignored his association with Liddy.
The Christian Science Monitor takes a look, noting despite the truth-squadding Palin is still telling her BTN tale.
On his Fox News program, Bill O'Reilly stated that he is "not sure" whether Gov. Sarah Palin "wants to overturn Roe v. Wade." In fact, during her interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson last week, Palin said that Roe v. Wade "should" be reversed.
One word: Spain. Daily Kos has the details at how the blogs helped drive that news story.
Here's Scherer's initial claim that an Obama ad distorted McCain's position on Social Security: "it is not true that McCain is running for president on a platform of turning Social Security over to Wall Street."
Now here's Scherer's update: "Read what I have written above, and decide if I am trying to hide the fact that McCain wants to pursue a plan to invest Social Security funds in the markets, which is the main allegation by Media Matters. I make this fact very clear."
Ok. Um ... if Scherer acknowledges "McCain wants to pursue a plan to invest Social Security funds in the markets," what exactly is his problem with the statement that "McCain is running for president on a platform of turning Social Security over to Wall Street"?
The ad says McCain favors "risking social security on the stock market," which is what I paraphrased as Obama's claim that McCain wants to "turn social security over to Wall Street," which the unbiased folks at Media Matters calls a strawman. I think it's a fair--though not exactly precise--characterization of the Obama claim.
Ok. Let's review:
According to Michael Scherer, "McCain wants to pursue a plan to invest Social Security funds in the markets."
But, according to Micahel Scherer, Obama's ad's statement that "McCain favors 'risking social security on the stock market'" is a distortion of McCain's position.
The post mentions three ads that all share the same problem, which is clearly identified in the first paragraph. To wit, instead of talking about the opponents' plans, the ads talk about the opponents' past votes. This process obstructs the debate that should be happening about the candidate's plans. The Obama social security ad says McCain wants to do what Bush did. This is not what McCain now says he wants to do. That's the point.
The problem is, that point is wrong. Scherer supports it with nothing more than a vague statement from McCain's web page (a statement that actually undermines Scherer's point, as it endorses "personal accounts") and a slightly less vague statement from Mark Salter. He ignores John McCain's repeated comments this year in support of private accounts -- comments that a simple Google search for "McCain Social Security privatization" will unearth in seconds. Comments that I linked in my earlier post. And Scherer ignores his own statement -- just a few sentances earlier -- that "McCain wants to pursue a plan to invest Social Security funds in the markets."
Scherer says there should be a debate about the candidates' plans. I agree. But his post obscures McCain's plans; it doesn't clarify them. For instance, Scherer keeps suggesting that McCain's current statements contradict (and moot) his previous votes -- but he hasn't explained how they do so.
When he does get around to explaining -- perhaps in his next update? -- maybe Scherer can also explain why he dismisses the votes cited in the ad, one of which occured in 2006, as having taken place "a decade ago."
A CNN.com article reported that Sen. Joe Lieberman's speech at the Republican National Convention "is a sore point with his Democratic colleagues" because Lieberman "attacked Obama." But the article did not mention that the content of Lieberman's speech violated a pledge he had made not to "spend [his] time attacking Barack Obama" at the convention. The article also reported that Democrats "thought Lieberman had gone over the line when he said Obama had not reached across the aisle to work with Republicans," but not that they cited Obama's bipartisan legislative accomplishments to challenge the veracity of that assertion.