Posts about Politics

He changed

Whenever you want to show how soft big media are on Barack Obama, refer back to Howard Kurtz’ column on their coverage of the candidate’s hypocritical flip-flop on campaign financing. Chapter and verse. “The question: Are the media going to call Obama on the reversal? Will there be hand-wringing pieces about the corrupting role of money in politics? Or will the story just be covered as the two sides trading charges?” Howard analyzes their leads and how they tucked in mentions of the flip. e.g.,

NYT’s lead graf: “He argued that the system had collapsed, and would put him at a disadvantage running against Senator John McCain, his likely Republican opponent.” Fourth graf: It “represented a turnaround.”

Facing up to sexism

We are only now — a bit late — beginning to face up to sexism as a factor in the Democratic race and as an ongoing problem in America.

Katie Couric spoke out:

Sound bite: “It isn’t just Hillary Clinton who needs to learn a lesson from this primary season, it’s all the people who crossed the line and all the women and men who let them get away with it.”

The New York Times today delivers the stock on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand, try-to-say-nothing roundup that comes to no conclusion but does, at least, compile a few of the sins:

Cable television has come under the most criticism. Chris Matthews, a host on MSNBC, called Mrs. Clinton a “she-devil” and said she had gotten as far as she had only because her husband had “messed around.”

Mike Barnicle, a panelist on MSNBC, said that Mrs. Clinton was “looking like everyone’s first wife standing outside a probate court.” Tucker Carlson, also on MSNBC, said, “When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.”

The establishment news media were faulted too. The New York Times wrote about Mrs. Clinton’s “cackle” and The Washington Post wrote about her cleavage.

Ken Rudin, an editor at National Public Radio, appeared on CNN, where he equated Mrs. Clinton with the actress Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.” “She’s going to keep coming back, and they’re not going to stop her,” Mr. Rudin said. He later apologized.

Howard Dean comes out to decry the sexism. Why didn’t he do this during the campaign?

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic Party, who says he was slow to pick up on charges of sexism because he is not a regular viewer of cable television, is taking up the cause after hearing an outcry from what he described as a cross-section of women, from individual voters to powerful politicians and chief executives.

“The media took a very sexist approach to Senator Clinton’s campaign,” Mr. Dean said in a recent interview.

“It’s pretty appalling,” he said, adding that the issue resonates because Mrs. Clinton “got treated the way a lot of women got treated their whole lives.”

Mr. Dean and others are now calling for a “national discussion” of sexism.

Howard Dean doesn’t watch Chris Matthews? Yeah, sure.

: And here‘s The Times’ Nick Kristof writing the speech on sexism he wishes Obama would now deliver.

The day the Democrats lost it

From Dana Milbank’s coverage of yesterday’s food fight and disenfranchisement festival:

The chaos and vitriol seemed to confirm Democrats’ fears that they might blow an election that should otherwise be an easy victory for them. Nor did the compromise fit well with the Democrats’ oft-voiced commitment to voting rights. They decided they would give Florida and Michigan half of their voting rights — one of the more arbitrary compromises since the 1787 decision that a slave should count as three-fifths of a person — and voted to award Obama 59 Michigan delegates, each with half a vote, even though his name wasn’t even on the ballot in the state.

Gold-colored ropes (along with some hired DNC muscle) kept the public and the press at a distance from the committee members. “We are strong enough to struggle and disagree and to even be angry and disappointed and still come together at the end of the day and be united,” Dean told his troops. But not this day.

Jon Ausman, representing Florida, likened the disenfranchisement of Florida to the election of 1876, in which “the Republicans stole three electoral votes from Florida and made Rutherford [B. Hayes] president instead of Tilden.” . . .

Only Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan had an irrefutable point. “We’ve got a totally irrational system of nominating our president,” he said.

Bias? What bias? We’re not biased. Just ask us. Are we?

Chris Matthews — who has been downright spiteful in his coverage of Hillary Clinton — reports that she is attacking back. But David Shuster, the correspondent, explains it all away: “Attacking the media is not new. Presidents and politicians have been doing it for a long time, usually to deflect their own problems, often to tap into a perceived voter hostility towards journalists. The problem for Hillary Clinton is that her charges may reinforce concerns about her credibility.” His illogic: Clinton says that some in the media want her to quit. Shuster says that though they have declared her campaign over, nobody asked for her to quit. And besides, he says, the continuing campaign is good for ratings. But then he then goes on to declare himself, “She will not win.”

Incredible. He says she can’t be credible accusing the media of bias because he says the media aren’t biased and he says you can believe that because he’s credible and so she’s not.

They kill horses, don’t they?

World News Tonight tonight had Jake Tapper acting as if he had a big exclusive investigative report: Hillary Clinton is now rich! And she’s a liberal! Irony? He thinks so. Uh, what about Franklin Roosevelt? John F. Kennedy? John Edwards for that matter? Another nonstory. Another attack on Hillary for the sake of it. It was followed by a softball to Obama. Bias? No, no bias. What makes you say, that, Jeff?