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  • Time's Tumulty chides WaPo for burying US Atty article -- but Time hasn't published one

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Time's Karen Tumulty described an "underplayed story of the day":

    On A17 of the Washington Post: The U.S. Attorney scandal now has a new prosecutor of its own, after a scathing report confirms that there were, indeed, political motives at work in the firings.

    A17? That is, indeed, an underplayed story.

    You know who else has underplayed it? Time magazine. Tumulty's post is the only Swampland mention of the "scathing report" that "confirms" the central question of the scandal: that the Bush administration fired the U.S. Attorneys for political reasons. Time's web page has no other mentions of the report, other than a reprint of an Associated Press article.

    But that's nothing new: Time has been underplaying this story for more than a year and a half. When the scandal first broke in January 2007, Time Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney mocked liberals for "seeing broad partisan conspiracies where none likely exist." He and his magazine then ignored the story for months, leaving the journalism to Josh Marshall and the TPM crew, among others.

    And Time continues to underplay the story to this day, even as Tumulty chides the Washington Post for burying its coverage on page A17.

  • Michael Scherer's pro-McCain double-standard

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Earlier today, I noted that over at Swampland, Time's Michael Scherer posted a snide denunciation of Obama aide Robert Gibbs for making what Scherer claimed was a joke about John McCain's age, even though Gibbs didn't mention McCain's age at all. That was the second such post from Scherer in the past few weeks.

    But, as several Swampland readers have pointed out in comments on Scherer's post, Sarah Palin has been making comments that could much more easily be seen as jokes about Joe Biden's age. Just yesterday, Palin said of Biden: "I've never met him before, but I've been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in like second grade." Scherer's Time colleague Mark Halperin described that as an "age swipe." At the very least, it's a more direct reference to age than Gibbs' statement that McCain "zig-zags." And Sarah Palin isn't just a campaign aide; she's the Republican nominee for Vice President.

    And yet Michael Scherer has not written an angry post denouncing Sarah Palin or suggesting that her comments might cost McCain votes in Florida.

    That's about as clear as double-standards come.

    And it comes on the heels of his embarrassingly wrong attack on Barack Obama (and defense of John McCain.)

  • Friday night lights, cont'd

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    We realize we're entering pet peeve territory with this topic, but we can continue to be amazed that reporters seem blind to the idea that having the first presidential debate on a Friday night pretty much guaranteed that viewership would be, relatively, soft.

    The New York Times is latest to look right past the obvious.

  • The media's role in Wall Street's meltdown

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Mike Barnicle and Mark Halperin on MSNBC this morning agreed that the unserious media fell down in terms of holding the powerful accountable. That it, "abdicated that responsibility" over the years.

  • Time's Scherer leaps to McCain's defense again

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Under the headline "More Elderly Humor From Robert Gibbs," Time's Michael Scherer writes:

    This morning on MSNBC, [Obama spokesman Robert] Gibbs returned to the make-fun-of-the-elderly joke well. "Just yesterday, John McCain said we shouldn't fix blame. He took a breath and then fixed blame. He said the fundamentals of our economy are strong, and he flip-flopped. He opposed the bail-out of AIG, and then he supported it. This guy zig-zags. Look, if he's driving a car, get off the sidewalk." (Video here.)

    Hardy Har Har. Back in the 2004 presidential election, one in four voters was 60 years old or older. I am sure they find these sort of jokes from Obama's top message man hilarious. Just hilarious.

    Uh ... if you "zig-zag" while driving, you'll likely end up on the sidewalk. That doesn't have anything to do with age; it has to do with most roads not being zig-zag shaped.

    At the beginning of Scherer's post, he referenced a comment by Gibbs about McCain's failure to remember how many houses he owns as another example of Gibbs criticizing McCain's age. But Gibbs didn't say anything about McCain's age in that comment, either. He made a comment about McCain forgetting how many houses he has because McCain forgot how many houses he has.

  • Questions reporters should ask ...

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner, have said that Republican members of congress voted against the bailout legislation because they were upset over Nancy Pelosi's speech.

    Reporters should ask John McCain if those members were putting "country first."

  • MoveOn calls for apology from Brokaw

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    On Sunday's Meet the Press, NBC's Tom Brokaw allowed McCain strategist Steve Schmidt to falsely claim that John McCain had called for Don Rumsfeld to be fired. That's an old lie that the McCain campaign had abandoned long ago -- but Brokaw let Schmidt get away with bringing it back.

    Even worse, Brokaw ended the segment by announcing -- "in fairness to everybody here" -- that the "latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll" found that John McCain "continues" to lead Barack Obama on the question of who is "best-equipped to be commander in chief."

    Yesterday, Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars pointed out that the numbers Brokaw read did not, in fact, appear in the "latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll."

    Now MoveOn says they contacted NBC -- and "it turns out Brokaw was referring to a poll taken weeks ago--right after the Republican convention and well before Friday's big national security debate. And in each of NBC's last two polls, Americans chose Obama over McCain."

    MoveOn thinks Brokaw should apologize.

    That's a good first step. He might also want to figure out a way to reassure the public that he'll do a better -- and more fair -- job when he moderates the October 7 presidential debate.

    He probably won't spend much time doing that, though -- his days are apparently pretty full acting as NBC's liaison to the McCain campaign. In that role, Brokaw works to assure the McCain camp that "Mr. McCain could still get a fair shake from NBC News."

    After Brokaw's performance on Sunday, NBC should be scrambling to assure the Obama campaign of the same thing.

  • Defining "gotcha journalism"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    During an interview with CBS on Monday, John McCain complained about "gotcha" reporting. He was referring to the fact that journalists over the weekend at a campaign event overheard Sarah Palin answer a question from a voter regarding her position about Pakistan. It was a position that seemed to differ with McCain's.

    When Katie Couric brought up the incident, McCain denounced the incident as "gotcha" journalism because Palin had been speaking with a voter.

    That strikes us as odd. Because Palin pretty much refuses to answer question from reporters on the campaign trail, that leaves them little option but to seek out her exchanges with voters. Or does the McCain camp consider entire campaign events to be off the record for reporters?

    When Barack Obama made controversial comments to supporters at a fundraiser and they were reported online in April, his campaign did not complain about "gotcha" journalism. And when Bill Clinton was taped on a campaign event rope line attacking Vanity Fair, the Clinton campaign did not complain about "gotcha" journalism.