Saturday, August 02, 2008

Okay, It's Long ...

... but read as much of it as you can.

But since you probably won't, at least read this:

The Washington Post has reported that "McCain and his allies" are accusing Obama of "snubbing wounded soldiers by canceling a visit to a military hospital because he could not take reporters with him, despite no evidence that the charge is true" and noted that the evidence the McCain campaign provided to back up the claim did not do so. The New York Times reported that McCain's recent offensive against Obama has been based on claims that have been "widely dismissed as misleading," which is actually an understatement -- they've been widely dismissed as false. A St. Petersburg Times editorial denounced McCain's "nasty turn into the gutter," adding that he "has resorted to lies and distortions in what sounds like an increasingly desperate attempt to slow down Sen. Barack Obama. ... [T]hese baseless attacks are raising more questions about the Republican's campaign and his ability to control his temper." The New York Times editorial board called another McCain attack "contemptible" and "ugly." On MSNBC, Time magazine Washington bureau chief Jay Carney called a McCain ad "reprehensible." MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell reported that a McCain ad is "completely wrong, factually wrong" and that it "literally is not true." The Cleveland Plain Dealer rated a McCain campaign ad a "zero" on its 0-to-10 scale of truthfulness.

All that -- and much, much more -- has come in just the past week.

In short, nearly every recent attack by the McCain campaign on Obama -- and there have been many -- has been debunked by at least one news outlet and in most cases by several.

So what's the problem? Sounds like the media are doing their job, right?


All week, McCain's attacks have been driving news coverage. Those same news organizations that have declared McCain's charges false have given them an extraordinary amount of attention, repeating them over and over. They have adopted the premises of the McCain attacks even as they acknowledge the attacks are based on false claims. The media narrative of the week has not been, as you might expect, that John McCain's apparent dishonesty may hurt him with voters. Instead, the media's basic approach has been to debunk McCain's attacks once, then run a dozen stories about how the attacks are sticking, how the "emerging narrative" will hurt Obama.

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