Jan
23
2009

The Myth Is Back!

Sometimes you don't need to read more than a headline. Take today's Washington Post: Senate Gets Reacquainted With McCain the Maverick OK, let's read just a bit: Two and a half months removed from his defeat in the race for the presidency, colleagues say, McCain bears more resemblance to the unpredictable and frequently bipartisan lawmaker they have served with for decades than the man who ran an often scathing campaign against Barack Obama. The "unpredictable and frequently bipartisan" John McCain doesn't really exist–McCain has for some time boasted a reliably conservative Senate voting record. (His "maverick" years of 2001 and […]

Nov
22
2008

Third Party Blackout

In a column in the Baltimore Sun, journalism professor John F. Kirchdoes a quick tally of coverage of third-party presidential candidates in 2008: According to a basic Lexis/Nexis database search of election coverage from August 5 to November 5, the Washington Post and the New York Times published a combined 3,576 news stories, editorials, op-eds, photographs and letters to the editor about Mr. Obama and 3,205 items about Mr. McCain. By contrast, the two dailies published only 36 items about independent Ralph Nader, 22 about Libertarian Bob Barr, five about Green Cynthia McKinney and three about the Constitution Party's Chuck […]

Oct
29
2008

The World According to Fox News Channel

This is the tease for tonight's O'Reilly Factor: New Gallup poll shows McCain gaining ground. Karl Rove, Dick Morris and Dennis Miller weigh in.

Oct
28
2008

Chuck Todd and Tom Brokaw Know Latinos

Tom Brokaw, the interim host of NBC's Meet the Press, and NBC analyst Chuck Todd expressed bafflement on last Sunday's Meet the Press (10/26/08) at how Latinos had "turned on the Republican Party" and their "friend" John McCain: TODD: I mean, this, this Hispanic–one of the things we–underreported story of the cycle is how Hispanics have just turned on the Republican Party, hurting John McCain. Frankly…. BROKAW: Who is a friend of theirs. TODD: Who is a friend of theirs. BROKAW: Right. TODD: You know, this is a Shakespearean–you know, the S… BROKAW: Right. It's hard to know exactly where […]

Oct
20
2008

Howard Kurtz's Off-the-Cuff Criticism

Howard Kurtz (cc photo: David Shankbone)

Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz wrote in his column today: McCain is never going to draw the kind of attention for his mortgage bailout plan that he did for telling David Letterman he "screwed up" by canceling an earlier appearance, or that Palin did in appearing with Tina Fey on Saturday night. Really? I had my intern, Daniel Ward, look up some numbers. A search on Nexis for "McCain and Letterman and screwed up" turned up one story apiece on the news ABC and NBC, and three stories on CBS–which airs the Letterman show. Meanwhile, the Washington Post, L.A. […]

Oct
09
2008

Media Fascinated by Design of Candidates' 'Bull-Pucky'

Not-exactly-progressive journalist Joe Klein has been on a bit of a tear over at CNN's Swampland blog, declaring himself (10/6/08) to be of two minds about how to deal with the McCain campaign's further descent into ugliness. Their strategy is simple: you throw crap against a wall and then giggle as the media try to analyze the putresence in a way that conveys a sense of balance: "Well, it is bull-pucky, but the splatter pattern is interesting . . ." which, of course, only serves to get your perverse message out.

Oct
07
2008

Pundit Projection Syndrome

The affliction that causes national political commentators to project their own perceptions onto the public– let's call it Pundit Projection Syndrome–is affecting David Gregory's ability to come to grips with the fact that the public just wasn't as into John McCain's and Sarah Palin's debate performances as he was. Last night on his MSNBC show, Race for the White House With David Gregory (10/6/08), the anchor demonstrated his confusion in a discussion with liberal-leaning pundit Laurence O'Donnell: GREGORY: Yes. Lawrence, let me show you another number here, which pertains to the debates in particular. Which ticket is doing better in […]

Sep
29
2008

Who Decides 'Who Won'?

The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg had a follow-up piece on Friday's debate headlined "The Next Day, a New Debate on Who Won." The story described the McCain and Obama camps' attempts at "influencing the public perception of who won an encounter that produced no clear winner or loser." Except–is it really true that the debate produced no clear winner? The initial polls pointed to Obama as a winner; CNN's poll released Friday night found that 51 percent of respondents thought Obama had done a better job, vs. 38 percent for McCain. CBS's Friday night poll of undecided voters had […]