Campaign Coverage: Fair or Fouled Up?
The Post succeeded brilliantly this morning in charging up the partisans from both major political parties. Michael D. Shear and Dan Balz write that there is a lack of evidence to support a McCain campaign assertion in an incessantly running TV ad that Barack Obama canceled a visit to a military hospital in Germany because he could not take reporters with him. Obviously part of the Post's devious plan to support Obama, as a number of our Readers Who Comment point out, or a severely under-reported and inaccurate account, according to others.
However, columnist Dana Milbank, who rarely writes without tongue firmly in cheek, called Obama the Democratic Party's presumptuous nominee under a headline that said "President Obama Continues Hectic Victory Tour." This is not seen as helpful to the Obama campaign, as a number of our Readers Who Comment point out, but cheered by others as being spot-on.
We have an example of what we in the trade call accountability reporting on the one hand and a column by a gifted satirist. Taken together, they shed considerable light on the state of the presidential campaign. They also shed considerable light on the way parts of the world are viewing MSM (mainstream media) journalism these days: if you like the article, it's great work; if you don't it's an unfair partisan attack.
We'll start with the comments on the Shear-Balz article.
bfjackjernigan wrote, "McCain, like his party and its enablers, are truely desperate. They can't fight using facts nor intellectually based positions so they just use the Joseph Goebbels manual as their guide and manufacture attack propaganda: "Tell a big lie enough and it becomes truth"..."
But bklynny offered that "...This is another example of the media creating a story (the false story of Obama snubbing the troops) rather than reporting on campaign issues, such as the economy and job losses and gas prices and the war..."
Carlos2000 said, "This is not news. This is an op-ed piece that looks and reads like a denial produced by the Obama campaign. It's like a press-release/denial hiding under the guise of reporting. The Post is back to it's old tricks. I wonder which candidate they will endorse for president!..."
0nl00k3r asked, "Lacks evidence? What kind of headline is that? The headline should read McCain promotes spurious allegations OR McCain lies for political advantage OR McCain joins in standard GOP smear tactics. Tell it like it is..."
Honest_Abe said, "A bit late for the truth to come out. The damage has been done but Obama will overcome. Lies and misinformation didn't work during the primaries."
MyOhMy charged that, "Here comes the Washington Post to Barack's rescue!!!! Is McCain really questioning his patriotism or is he questioning his decision in this instance? Very poor one-sided writing in this piece."
willandjansdad1 suggested that "I don't think John McCain is a "fear and smear" Republican...He doesn't look comfortable doing it, but the GOP handlers got the presidency twice using those methods and now it's all they know."
gardedgarton said, "...I can not believe the Washington Post has used this much space to refute something so minor and so obviously spinned. Clearly no media bias here."
And rpatoh wrote, "We're still waitng for a plausible reason of why Obama didn't visit the hospital, and we are also now waiting for an explanation of Obama's several differing excuses."
Now to the comments on Milbank's Washington Sketch column.
nativewashingtoian said, "Wow Dana, you almost sound bitter..."
KC11 wrote, "WashPo's answer to Maureen Dowd. Tres clever. Change your column name to Washington Sketchy."
chainking asked, "Who's being presumptuous? How about you, Mr. Milbank. Just because Senator Obama does not fill you in on every detail of his daily schedule does not give you the right to lambast him in the press. At least he doesn't smooze you in the Straight BS Express, like McCain does..."
lladnars said, "So what this boils down to is Obama is doing things and not telling the press. All the rest is just snark."
Natacuy wrote, "Ah, yes... "presumptuous" is the new "uppity"."
newfl said, "I am just curious. If he was white, would his confidence be seen as arrogance as the article describes. John McCain has met with the same leaders abroad. Does Obama's fault lie in the fact that he has met with more leaders and has greater oratorical skills than than McCain. I Just wonder."
scientist1 wrote, "Imagine how people would criticize Obama if he weren't acting presidential."
damollo0 warned, "Watch out Milbank!!! Much more of this kind of rubbish and you could become responsible for another four years of GOP chaos!"
good_neighbor said, "...Presidential candidates make it their job to proclaim their dazzling, exceptional greatness to anyone who will listen. Can you name one party nominee who wasn't at least a little full of himself? I can't..."
hquain suggested that "If Milbank and his headline writer want to work for the McCain campaign, shouldn't they quit their WaPo jobs?"
And we'll close with expatriot, who wrote, "Call it what it is: the faux presidency. And what is it again that comes before the fall?"
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