John McCain’s Campaign Concedes Fox News Is Biased

In an upcoming article in the National Review, Rich Lowry interviews John McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis. Much of the interview deals with the handling of Sarah Palin, the VP candidate who Lowry says…

“…was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. [Her TV appearance] sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.”

Wiping the drool from his chin, Lowry asked Davis why he booked Palin on Katie Couric’s CBS News program. Davis replied…

“Our assumption was people would not let us release her on Fox or local TV.”

If McCain’s campaign manager can admit that Fox News is a de facto arm of the Republican Party, and that nobody would take seriously a softball interview conducted on that network, why does Fox still try to peddle the myth that they are “fair and balanced?

After the McCain team nixed Fox for the initial interview, they chose Couric because they were…

“…under the impression the Couric thing was going to be easier than it was. Everyone’s guard was down for the Couric interview.”

Let’s count the stupid: First they presumed that Couric would be easier on Palin because they were both women. Of course, Couric had an incentive to perform at a high level due to her low ratings and expectations. Plus, a woman reporter would actually have more leeway to be aggressive when interviewing a woman candidate. It was political malpractice for McCain and company not to recognize this. And it opens them up to charges of sexism as well because it presumes that a woman reporter would not be as probing or professional as a man.

Secondly, they actually think that the questions Couric asked were too hard for Palin. Their guard was down for such confounding inquiries as, “What newspapers and magazines do you read?” Or, “What does Alaska’s proximity to Russia have to do with foreign policy experience?” If that’s their idea of tough questions, it’s a good thing they kept her under wraps most of the time.

Thank goodness they have Fox News around for the post-election interviews where Greta Van Susteren delved into Palin’s recipe for moose chili.

Sarah Palin’s Constitutional Frights

It’s five days before the election and Sarah Palin has still never held a press conference. But that hasn’t stopped her from bashing the media of which she is so fearful. And the story is getting even scarier.

Having a pet newspaper is apparently not enough for Palin. Now she’s afraid that any criticism of her is a violation of her Constitutional rights:

“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

No one is infringing on her right to call Obama out, and she does it every day. It’s pretty much all she does. But the fact that she thinks the First Amendment exists to protect her from the media, or anyone else who disagrees with her, is an appropriately scary notion to come up in a Halloween day interview. She is arguing that she be permitted to bark out all manner of scurrilous slurs with abandon. However, she regards it as unconstitutional for anyone else to exercise their own freedom of expression in response. What she is advocating is nothing less than the infringement of the First Amendment rights of her critics.

This is a recurring theme for Republicans. If they are accusing you of something, you can bet they are doing it themselves. The strategy is to identify their own faults and then accuse their opponent of engaging in them. The accusation doesn’t even need to be true. McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, admitted to this tactic. So whether it be negative campaigning, voter fraud, or questionable associations, the McCain camp is knee deep in hypocrisy.

Update: Is this an example of an unconstitutional attack by the mainstream media:
Sarah Palin Got Pranked

John McCain’s Smear Campaign

As John McCain’s prospects for election diminish, the incidence of dirty tricks and nasty campaigning are likely to increase. Almost every event and news story in the past couple of weeks has resulted in voters trending more to Barack Obama. Polls show Obama gaining support after the conventions, after the first presidential debate, after the Wall Street legislative activity in Washington, and after the vice presidential debate. With less than thirty days until the election, McCain’s desperation is showing. As the Republican angst escalates they will more aggressively execute the tactics that McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, articulated a few years ago in a newspaper editorial:

“The premise of any smear campaign rests on a central truth of politics: Most of us will vote for a candidate we like and respect, even if we don’t agree with him on every issue. But if you can cripple a voter’s basic trust in a candidate, you can probably turn his vote. The idea is to find some piece of personal information that is tawdry enough to raise doubts, repelling a candidate’s natural supporters […] It’s not necessary, however, for a smear to be true to be effective.”

The onslaught of political mud has already begun. Top Republicans told the Washington Post that:

“Sen. John McCain and his Republican allies are readying a newly aggressive assault on Sen. Barack Obama’s character, believing that to win in November they must shift the conversation back to questions about the Democrat’s judgment, honesty and personal associations.”

It appears that Sarah Palin has been tapped to be the campaign attack Pitbull (with lipstick). This afternoon she made the outrageous and offensive assertion that Obama associates with terrorists:

“Our opponent though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

This is the sort of garbage that can be expected between now and November fourth. McCain has nothing else upon which to campaign, so he is resorting to slander, lies and defamation. The candid confessions of Republican operatives, including McCain’s campaign manager, that they intend to pursue this strategy, should remove all doubt as to what depths they will sink. And from now on, any attack that emanates from the McCain camp must be viewed through the prism of these admissions.

They have told us in advance that they will be personal and tawdry, and that they don’t care about the truth. These are their words and their stated objectives. We must remember that and make sure that every voter knows it as well.

Just for the record: It may be John McCain who was really “pallin’ around with terrorists:”

McCain Coach Working The Refs

Following the candidates forum at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, a minor controversy erupted with regard to the participants playing fair. The ground rules called for each candidate to be asked the same questions. Therefore, John McCain was to be isolated so that he could not gain an advantage by hearing the questions as they were asked to Barack Obama, who went first.

As it turns out, McCain was not in the “Cone of Silence” as stated by Rev. Warren. Instead, he was en route to the church where he could have plausibly listened to Obama’s interview or been briefed on it by a staffer. Andrea Mitchell reported on Meet the Press that some Obama supporters were questioning whether McCain did, in fact, cheat:

“The Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because what they are putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama. He seemed so well-prepared.”

This set off McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, who fired off an angry letter to NBC president, Steve Capus. The letter said in part…

“We are extremely disappointed to see that the level of objectivity at NBC News has fallen so low that reporters are now giving voice to unsubstantiated, partisan claims in order to undercut John McCain.”

Reporters giving voice to unsubstantiated, partisan claims has been routine in this campaign. Though they have mostly been aimed at Obama. McCain’s people have relentlessly spewed nonsense about Obama’s faith, his patriotism, and his agenda on everything from war to energy to taxes. It is apparently OK if reporters give voice to unsubstantiated, partisan claims if they come from McCain.

Davis’ disingenuous indignation is especially pathetic in this context. In his own letter he quotes Mitchell as saying that the Obama campaign was less than thrilled with his performance. Conversely he notes Mitchell’s assertion that McCain seemed well prepared. Mitchell’s report was actually declaring McCain the winner of the debate, and yet, Davis still finds cause to complain.

McCain’s spokeswoman, Nicolle Wallace, also commented on the affair. In her remarks she pointedly accused the Obama campaign of having “lost its bearings.” I wonder if the intent of that language is meant to imply that she believes Obama may be senile. That’s exactly what McCain adviser Mark Salter alleged when Obama used the same words last May to describe McCain.

This fake outrage on the part of Davis, Wallace, et al, is nothing more than another transparent attempt to bully the media into shaping coverage that is one-sided and positive in favor of McCain. And the really sad part of this cynical and manipulative whining is that it has a damn good chance of working.