• "Why do my lips keep flapping and making these noises?"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Tom Tomorrow seems to have anticipated today's news coverage.

    In related matters: MSNBC's Contessa Brewer just asked McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer about the McCain camp's lipstick-on-a-pig nonsense: "If it's so important, Nancy, then why aren't we hearing from John McCain and Sarah Palin? They just got finished giving the same stump speeches we've seen over and over again, and did not address this at all. So if it's so important, why aren't we seeing them address it?"

    That's a pretty good question for Pfotenhauer.

    Here's a better question for MSNBC: If it isn't important enough for McCain and Palin to mention it, why is MSNBC treating it as the most important story in the world right now?

  • Tasteless

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Today's edition of The Hotline's "Wake Up Call" includes this mocking entry about Hillary Clinton:

    An apparently bored Hillary Clinton is taking on "the sponsors of the Serbian basketball league," because a "fugitive" has reportedly signed a contract to play with "KK Vrbas basketball club" (New York Post).

    That snide suggestion that Clinton is wasting her time on trivial matters seems awfully inappropriate in light of the New York Post's explanation of what the fugitive did to one of Clinton's constituents:

    The thuggish Slav fled the United States after being bailed out following his arrest for the savage beating on May 4 of SUNY Binghamton student Bryan Steinhauer, 23, at a bar near the school.

    Steinhauer, who hails from Brooklyn, has only recently begun emerging from a coma and remains hospitalized.

    Kovacevic managed to escape from justice with the help of a Serbian diplomat who issued him an illegal passport to replace the one seized by authorities.

  • Memo to reporters: You're helping, and you don't have to.

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Jill Zuckman, on MSNBC, about the McCain campaign's "lipstick on a pig" lie: "Even if we all think the charge may be a little bit flimsy, they have got all of us talking about it."

    First, the charge isn't "a little bit flimsy," it's a lie.

    Second: Reporters don't have to play along with this nonsense. They can refuse to report the McCain camp's false attacks. Or they can use their coverage to make clear that this is the latest in a long line of false smears from McCain, and indicative of the kind of campaign he is running, rather than pretending there is some open question about whether Obama called Sarah Palin a pig, or behaving as though the important question is "will the attack work" rather than "what does the lie say about the person telling the lie."

  • WaPo vs. Truth

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Matthew Yglesias catches the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman in a McCain-friendly falsehood.

    This is the kind of thing that merits a correction -- Weisman is not only inaccurately coming to McCain's defense, he's inaccurately suggesting that Obama is being misleading. So, does the Washington Post take the truth seriously? Find out tomorrow!

  • For MSNBC-ologists

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    New York Observer offers an inside look of the recent personnal changes at the cabler.

    Nugget: Andrea Mitchell expressed concerns to NBC's CEO that Keith Olbermann should not be anchoring MSNBC's big political events.

  • 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?