It has been noted that unlike the McCain ads, this one won't suffer from fact checking organizations blasting the media quotes. Then of course there are the names of the news organizations quoted: Time, Washington Post, New Republic, CBS News, and Chicago Tribune. Now the fact that these are some of the largest news organizations may qualify them as liberal, size seems to matter. On the matter of size, Fox News is a big one, so what's going on there? It seems some of them have lost their minds:
KELLY: I want to hold you accountable for what McCain is doing, and get you to weigh in on this. Has your candidate gone too far, has he stretched the truth with the voters?
BOUNDS: Well, Megyn, what we have done is gone to great lengths to discuss Barack Obama's record. And I think what you're seeing in this ad today is that he would rather hurl insults than examine his record. I mean, it is true that during a struggling economy, he proposes raising taxes.
KELLY: Not on the middle class.
BOUNDS: Well...ulp...on job growth and small businesses that drive the job growth of this country.
KELLY: But you guys have suggested he's going to raise taxes on the middle class and virtually every independent analyst who took a look at that claim said that's not true. He'll raise it on people making $200,000 or $250,000, but not the middle class.
BOUNDS: Well, Megyn, you're giving him an enormous amount of credit for a guy who has voted only to raise taxes in the United States Senate. For now...for him to make a new claim...for him...now, keep in mind --
KELLY: No, no! Let's stay on point, I'm not giving him any credit. I'm saying what the independent analysts say. They say that claim is false. And if that's false, why would John McCain do that, Tucker? Why wouldn't he just level with the voters and say, look, he's going to raise taxes on the wealthy or whatever you consider somebody to be making over $250,000, it's going to have a trickle down effect. That may not be good for the middle class. But why say he's going to raise taxes on the middle class when he's not?
BOUNDS: Because his record says that he will. If we take ever his word on everything he says he will do, the oceans will part, the sick will become healed. They're all sorts of things that Barack Obama is claiming on this campaign. But when you look is at his record, he has voted to increase taxes, he has voted in support of higher taxes for people making as little as $42,000 a year. I think you and I can both agree that those people are entrenched in the middle-class of this country.
KELLY: Tucker, why did he claim--
BOUNDS: 94 times in three years he is voted in support of higher taxes. Why are we to take him on his word that he would cut any tax? He has no record of doing it.
KELLY: Why did John McCain suggests in an ad that Barack Obama supported, comprehensive sex-ed for kindergartners?
BOUNDS: You'll notice that the Obama campaign has never refuted that. They voted for that in Barack Obama's committee. His committee that he chaired voted to pass that legislation. If you examine the language in the bill--
KELLY: I looked at the language in the bill.
BOUNDS: I know you will have an Obama person on later, I hope that you will ask them if there was language in the bill that actually talked about sex education for kindergartners.
KELLY: The language in the bill talks about age appropriate sex ed, including education about child predators and inappropriate touching. What is wrong with that?
BOUNDS: And sexually transmitted diseases.
KELLY: Right. Why wouldn't you want a kindergartner to be educated somewhat about inappropriate touching from adults?
BOUNDS: About sexually transmitted diseases?
KELLY: No! No! [crosstalk] His campaign says that's not fair, what he was backing was trying to educate little kindergartners on how to avoid sexual predators' and that you are distorting the language of the bill. Your response.
BOUNDS: We did not distort the language of the bill. We told voters that he voted in favor of this education. That is a reform that is on his record. If we cannot talk about the votes that he's actually taken, if we can't talk about the fact that he is supporting higher taxes or has proposed more taxes in a down economy when americans are struggling, what can we talk about? It is an important debate. Let's talk about the facts. No more of the dishonest, sleazy accusations. What he is trying to do is divert attention away from the fact that he is no proven record of making reforms. When voters go to the ballot in November, they will vote for someone who has a record of reform and bipartisanship. That is John McCain, not Barack Obama.
So, are you now confused? I'll admit that I never thought I'd see the day when truth would be the issue on a Fox News interview with a Republican. I can almost imagine the splash waves rippling throughout the right-osphere.
These are scarcely the only news organizations calling foul, they happen to be very public right now, but is this a case of the media finally having had enough?
Chris Matthews of Hardball makes no pretense of being favorable to Republicans though he has no real problem with roughing up Democrats. Today I watched him climb all over a Republican McCain representative, essentially asking, 'are you a Republican, or not?' as she tried to paint McCain as an agent of change. This was in the wake of the failure of Lehman Brothers, the sale of Merrill Lynch, and the market dropping 500 points. Matthews wanted to know exactly how it is that Republicans are not responsible for this mess, she wanted to make it the Democrats or that only McCain had the experience to deal with it.
Carly Fiorina is on David Gregory spinning the snot out of the McCain campaign. David Gregory seems to be going along with this. He does want to know about "free markets" and more regulation of wall street. My god, she just compared McCain to Teddy Roosevelt. Hmmm, McPow believes in banking transparency, how odd in light of Chuck Keating and the role of his chief economic advisor and lobbyist based campaign people's agendas in DC. How is it a campaign run by the very people involved in the deregulation and loop-hole creations that allowed this mess aren't called on that fact? It is not even anything like that complicated to connect the dots. Gregory let it go. Evidently he sees it as his role to ask a question and uncritically accept the answer. I don't care about the left/right lean, if the answer dodges the question with fooferaw then it should be followed up on.
The real question that exists is whether the American people make the connection between John McCain and GW Bush. Polls from the last week say, "No." I am not overly impressed by polls, there are plenty of issues with them especially in this election, but the fact remains that there is not a 2:1 lead for Obama. Whether this is as close as polls show or not, something that dramatic should be evident. It would seem that a campaign theme from eight years ago still holds - so much for the American voters' amnesia. McMaverick? It seems as though it isn't amnesia as much as it is short-term memory loss - like the last 8 years.
Am I astonished? It has been said that it never pays to underestimate the stupidity of the electorate, but McCain as an agent of change? I cannot help my left point of view and I have to admit that it colors my perception. That said, the realities aren't a matter of perception, gas prices, unemployment rates, Wall Street, inflation, wage stagnation are not subject to left/right perception - people live with this stuff, it isn't abstract. Maybe Iraq, Afghanistan, and Middle East in general are too distant to be daily reality to those not in military families but the rest of it surely is. Blogs hit this stuff hard and there is a great deal of noise about the 'new technology' but it is not nearly as widely used as the more traditional news medias.
What I expect of the news media is skepticism of political claims, both sides. It is justifiable to question Obama's stances and qualifications and statements, but it is equally justified to take the same approach to McCain. This is their job, the one they failed in the run-up to the Iraq war. Republicans have done sufficient damage to medias' reputation by playing the liberal bias card which had just enough reality to gain traction, but Iraq was the hammer that sank that nail of pointlessness. The citizenry cannot be expected to make informed decisions when it does not believe it is informed by the watchdogs. This disbelief crosses ideological lines, the left looks at corporate ownership and media constriction and then the right looks at educational levels and political rhetoric and the middle looks at the Iraq WMD debacle. Nobody takes them seriously, political ads have as much credibility and that bodes ill for our system of government.