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Stuart Taylor on the Media and the Campaign:

Taylor, who has always struck me as eminently fair and nonpartisan, writes: "We still have many great journalists, but I no longer trust the major newspapers or television networks to provide consistently accurate and fair reporting and analysis of all the charges and countercharges." For the rest of the column, which provides many details in support (and criticizies McCain as well as Obama and the media), see here.

wfjag:
The press is partisan and candidates' ads are not strictly accurate and objective.

"Joe, tell me it ain't so!"
9.19.2008 2:17pm
Oren:
Another good reason to read as broadly as possible.
9.19.2008 2:18pm
Doogie:
I tend to approach their reporting on either candidate with a healthy skepticism. We're quick to label the media "liberal" if your on the right or "corporate" if your on the left, but the truth is they write with one interest in mind: their own.
9.19.2008 2:29pm
Justin (mail):
I'm going to disagree with Mr. Taylor. The reason the Obama ad wasn't covered is:

a) the manner in which it wasn't true is nuanced and complicated.

b) the ad only played on spanish channels, making it not of general interest to an Anglo news audience

c) the media is famous for covering memes, which they then stick to. Gore and Kerry exagerrated their accomplishments, Bush was stupid, Kerry was a flip-flopper, McCain has developed lies-about-hismelf as a meme, Obama, despite his upbringing, has been given an elitest-and-above-it all meme.

d) Obama's mischaracterization is hardly less interesting or relevant (or damaging) news than McCain's numerous flipflops or his Spain gaffe, or Palin's multiple energy gaffes, in recent weeks. But since they ALSO don't fit the media memes, they've also been ignored.

Look, the Media is FAR from perfect. But looking at it through a left-right lens (Fox News and Drudge excluded) is going to paint you a *very* incomplete picture of the media's actual flaws and biases.
9.19.2008 2:36pm
PLR:
It doesn't take a GMU graduate to recognize what happens when you cut back the news staff. Reporters will obtain their information from the most quickly available source, and then will recycle that information as necessary.

Oh look, Jay Sekulow's calling me again. Tell him to hold on 'til I'm finished with Kagan. No, not that one, the other one.
9.19.2008 2:39pm
Smokey:
We are often reminded of Republican sins ranging from the (accurate) Willie Horton ads of 1988 to the (over-the-top) "Swiftboating" of 2004.
To this day, not one fact cited by the SWVFT has been credibly refuted.

Kerry's actions in the campaign speak volumes. Coming down the home stretch, in the closing months of a very close race, the Swift Boat veterans posted their allegations of Kerry's self-serving exaggerations, and his claims of heroism.

Did Kerry fight back? Did he initially announce that what the veterans said who served with him were lies? Or even exaggerations?

No. Kerry knew the vets who served with him were telling the truth.

So instead of fighting, right in the middle of the home stretch, Kerry went into hiding. He disappeared from public view for almost a month.

It cost him the election.
9.19.2008 2:41pm
PLR:
To this day, not one fact cited by the SWVFT has been credibly refuted.

You're going to have to be a lot more clever than that. There are word parsers at this site.
9.19.2008 2:49pm
Milhouse (www):
If he thinks the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's campaign was unfair or "over the top" then he's not all that "eminently fair and nonpartisan".
9.19.2008 2:49pm
josh:
Due to the overwhelming number of attorneys who have been reported for unethical behavior to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (which regulates conduct of attorneys licensed to practice in Illinois), I no longer trust lawyers.

Due to the number of stock brokers who have been found liable for insider trading by the SEC, I no longer trust stock brokers.

Due to the number of doctors who have been found by a jury of their peers to have committed medical malpractice, I no longer trust doctors.

Due to the fact that I knew no less than two, and possibly five professors in law school who at one time slept with one of their students, I no longer trust law professors.

Due to the fact that there often are people who post and comment on the Volokh Conspiracy blog whom I find not credible, I no longer trust the posters and bloggers on this blog.

[OK, I retract the last one. But I don't trust anyone else!!]
9.19.2008 3:03pm
Anderson (mail):
Obama may have pulled even with McCain in the race to the bottom, or even ahead of him, by launching a scurrilously dishonest new Spanish-language TV ad. It misleadingly portrays McCain "and his Republican friends" as anti-immigrant bigots who say "lies just to get our vote."

This is supposed to be worse than the "sex-ed for kindergarteners" ad?

And as for coverage of Palin:

But I am also deeply skeptical when I see front-page headlines like "As Mayor of Wasilla, Palin Cut Own Duties, Left Trail of Bad Blood" (Washington Post, September 14), or "Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes" (New York Times, same day). Such loaded language is a badge not of a newsroom committed to impartial investigation but of an ideological echo chamber.

Bullshit. If the headlines are true, which Taylor does not dispute, then they're "impartial."

Stuart Taylor, Jr. -- neutral, unbiased hackery you can trust.
9.19.2008 3:06pm
Snaphappy Fishsuit Mokiligon:
"eminently fair and nonpartisan"

I've only ever read his opinion items in the National Law Journal, and they have struck me as anything but. Calling for a plague on both houses when the sins of one far outweigh the sins of the other is neither fair nor nonpartisan.
9.19.2008 3:15pm
SG:
This is supposed to be worse than the "sex-ed for kindergarteners" ad?

Yes. Race-baiting is absolutely worse.
9.19.2008 3:18pm
Just a thought:

This is supposed to be worse than the "sex-ed for kindergarteners" ad?

Anderson, this probably won't convince you, but some people think the sex-ed ad was not a complete lie.
9.19.2008 3:21pm
SG:
And while I do think the sex ed was innuendo-filled and kind of sleazy, according to an 2007 ABC News Story entitled
Sex Ed for Kindergarteners 'Right Thing to Do,' Says Obama, there is some basic truth to the claim behind the ad.
9.19.2008 3:27pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
On one of Justin's points

d) Obama's mischaracterization is hardly less interesting or relevant (or damaging) news than McCain's numerous flipflops or his Spain gaffe, or Palin's multiple energy gaffes, in recent weeks. But since they ALSO don't fit the media memes, they've also been ignored.

I was intrigued by the Spanish gaffe.
For those who have not heard, in a radio interview, McCain was asked if he would meet with Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain. It was asked after questions about latin America.
McCain gave a stock answer: he'd meet with our friends, stand up to our enemies and then branched off to mention the Mexican President. The reporter asked again; same response; reporter asked again- response implied McCain talking about a country in this hemisphere. She tried to ask again - she used the word Europe- McCain heard "you" gave same answer. Alternative explanations- McCain didn't recognize who "President [all his names] Zapatero was. Thinks Spain is in Latin America; didn't understand the reporter because of accent or difficulty hearing; was deliberately wishing to continue snubbing NATO ally for pulling out of Iraq.

Listened to coverage on CNN's The situation room. The item was covered but so briefly and shallowly that it would have been heard for anyone to tell what the problem was.
Was it a deliberate distortion? Hard to believe the reporter who was "doing a good job" covering the story didn't understand the alternative possibilities.

was it: doesn't fit into our image of McCain

was it: the new national secret (replacing misoverestimating Bush's intelligence and intellectual curiosity) will be that McCain is either hard of hearing, having additional senior's moments, or has an enemies list.

Rather than having a reporter convey all the facts, CNN usually has two advocates of the opposing camps spin, demonstrating an almost perfect ability to ignore any shortcoming of their own candidate or change the topic to some past sin of the other side.

As to Mr Taylor, I would be skeptical about calling anyone who relied on York and the National review for his objective take on the facts of an issue "as eminently fair and nonpartisan".
9.19.2008 3:29pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
This article seems to base it's conclusion on the "obvious" fact that the media wouldn't have responded similarly if things had been reversed.

Frankly, given what we know about the effects of our beliefs on the information we remember and take note of this seems to be a particularly uncompelling piece.
9.19.2008 3:31pm
Serenity Now (mail) (www):
Justin - Look, the Media is FAR from perfect. But looking at it through a left-right lens (Fox News and Drudge excluded) is going to paint you a *very* incomplete picture of the media's actual flaws and biases.

More on the hyperpartisan Drudge - link
9.19.2008 3:32pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I find this interesting: ads against a Democrat which are mostly accurate are considered "lies", while those even more inaccurate against Republicans are considered too nuanced to debate.

As for Kerry and the Swift Boat ads, we still haven't seen his military records almost four years after he absolutely promised to release them. That would of course settle many of the questions. But that ignores that the most devastating of those ads were not of his limited service, but rather film clips of what he did afterwards. That was where we saw a preview of what we are seeing so often during this campaign by the Democrats - attacking the messenger, and never addressing the message.

We have discussed before whether the McCain ad on mandatory sex ed for kindergarteners was accurate or not. Yelling that it was a lie, ignores that a good, if not better, case can be made that it was reasonably accurate, esp. as campaign ads go.
9.19.2008 3:35pm
Asher (mail):
Anderson: This is supposed to be worse than the "sex-ed for kindergarteners" ad?

SG: Yes. Race-baiting is absolutely worse.


I'm an extremely reluctant Obama supporter at this point, but I agree. Obama would never have even dared to run a similar ad in English.
9.19.2008 3:42pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I also agree with Justin, and Johnny Canuck's example of McCain's weird statements about Spain getting relatively little play because it doesn't fit into the "meme" about McCain is a good one.

In the last couple of elections the media told us that Bush was kinda dumb but honest, while the Dems were smarter but out of touch flip-floppers. In fact, Bush wasn't that dumb but also wasn't that honest; and the Dems weren't that smart but they didn't flip-flop anymore than anyone else did. But facts that didn't fit into the Prevailing Wisdom were downplayed.

One thing that's interesting about this campaign is that the Prevailing Wisdom is apparently shifting about McCain: he used to be a "straight talker" now he's a lier. Chances are it's not really a big shift -- he wasn't always such a straight talker and he's not such a big lier now.
9.19.2008 3:44pm
Justin (mail):
Serenity,

You do realize that the finding that Drudge is liberally biased only, in at least my mind, undermines the methodology of the study, right? If the hypothesis is that the media is biased becaues they are liberals intentionally or unintentionally helping liberal causes through their liberal worldview, the finding that Drudge, a conservative who doesn't even argue that he's unbiased, is ALSO liberal, tends to DISPROVE the hypothesis (nor does the UCLA's point, that a collection of links is reflected by the bias of the linked, given that the overall bias of Drudge comes from the choice, the placement, and the spin GIVEN to his links).
9.19.2008 3:45pm
SG:
Chances are it's not really a big shift -- he wasn't always such a straight talker and he's not such a big lier now.

My belief is that his level of honesty is unchanged - only the targets of his rhetoric. When he was attacking Republicans he was a "straight talker, new he's attacking Dems so he's a liar.

I don't know who's going to win this election, but I'm pretty sure that the press is coming out the loser.
9.19.2008 3:52pm
rarango (mail):


Oren gives us the solution (to the problem bias) in the least amount of words. Well done, Sir.
9.19.2008 3:54pm
SeaDrive:
(I thought this thread was about media. How did we get to Swift boats? This morning, the guy in the office next to me was damning democrats because of the Clinton/Lewinsky oral sex episodes, as if there had never been a sex scandal involving a republican.)

It's in the nature of things that a newspaper has to reflect a somewhat cohesive view of the world. It's always been this way. It sounds like Taylor has just discovered for himself a fact that's been well-understood for a long, long time.
9.19.2008 3:56pm
JosephSlater (mail):
SG:

Not meaning to defend "the press," and I also don't know who's going to win the election, but I'm pretty sure whoever loses will blame the press. And honestly, both sides will have some valid complaints.
9.19.2008 3:56pm
JosephSlater (mail):
P.S. Contrary to the evidence my earlier post contained, I actually do know that the word is spelled "liar" and not "lier."
9.19.2008 3:57pm
Federal Dog:
It's been a very long time since I looked to the major newspapers and TV networks for information. At best, they serve to state prevailing Democrat orthodoxies.
9.19.2008 3:57pm
Mike Keenan:
Is the "major" media worse now than in the past? Certainly it was much worse in the 19th century. When were the glory days of a non-partisan media? Or is he only referring to the New York Times and ABC news?
9.19.2008 3:59pm
Asher (mail):

My belief is that his level of honesty is unchanged - only the targets of his rhetoric. When he was attacking Republicans he was a "straight talker, new he's attacking Dems so he's a liar.


I think what's more disturbing than his attacks on Obama is his massive intellectual dishonesty on the economy. Every time he speaks on it, it's just, "people are really greedy on Wall Street, they treated it like a casino, but I'll clean it up somehow because I'm a tough guy. And I'll start by cracking down on huge severance packages, which has virtually nothing to do with the problem, but it sounds good in an idiotic populist sort of way. I also would like to blame this problem on naked short selling, even though that has nothing to do with our problems here. And, let's fire the SEC Chairman, who hasn't done anything wrong, and appoint a 9/11 Commission, as that will solve everything." Now Obama's response ("let's over-regulate stuff in mysterious ways that I haven't yet even begun to think out") isn't much better, but at least it's a view that a reasonable person can take.
9.19.2008 4:09pm
SG:
Every time he speaks on it, it's just, "people are really greedy on Wall Street, they treated it like a casino, but I'll clean it up somehow because I'm a tough guy.

I agree with this. McCain seems to treat the current mess like some kind of morality play. And perhaps it even is, but if your "solution" expects people to put aside their self-interest then it's not any kind of practical solution.
9.19.2008 4:16pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
One thing interesting here is that Stewart Taylor was fairly even handed, if not a little harsher on McCain than Obama. He kept saying that McCain was leading the race to the bottom, but that Obama was maybe trying to catch up. Yet, there are many here who read his article as aimed at Obama.

I did like that he deconstructed a number of attacks from both sides, showing their biases and mischaracterizations.
9.19.2008 4:18pm
Federal Dog:
""As Mayor of Wasilla, Palin Cut Own Duties, Left Trail of Bad Blood" (Washington Post, September 14)"

I have to admit that I liked the "trail of blood" headline. Great over-the-top stuff. I am comforted by its hamfistedness: The more evident media manipulation is, the better off its intended victims are.
9.19.2008 4:36pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
I did like that he deconstructed a number of attacks from both sides, showing their biases and mischaracterizations.

Or at least one perspective as to "bias and mischaracterization".

I listened to Palin in the church, and i understood it to be a "task from God" as I listened to it. It would be interesting as to what percentage of the audience understood it that way. (I am not disputing that it is possible to understand her words as "pray that it is").

Maybe Gibson, or his research assistant- not through wilful attempt to distort- but honestly listened to it and heard it as "task from God".

It would be interesting to extract from Gibson his true intent and his understanding of the question he asked.

Similarly the famous Bush Doctrine. Gibson "knew" what it meant to him- he had used the phrase - defining it before he asked the Republican candidates earlier in the primaries (none of them told him he hadn't used it correctly or that it had multiple other meanings)

When he asked Palin the first time- he was either giving her a softball so that she could show how well she had studied, or a gotcha- I can't tell. ( I understood he was chosen as the kindest of the MSM)

By the time he asked her the fourth time having explained the way he understood it, it was clear she didn't really wasn't up on the subtletly between preemptive war (common policy in international world) and preventive war (Bush's idea that the US could attack any country Bush thought might be a threat to US at sometime in the future)

Commenters and analysts on Obama's side focus on the totality of the incident.

Commenter and analysts, (I want to say apologists for Palin) focus on the perceived unfairness or ambiguity of the initial question and ignore everything thereafter. the
9.19.2008 4:54pm
Anderson (mail):
One thing interesting here is that Stewart Taylor was fairly even handed

Well, that's why David Broder is such an object of derision.

Being "even-handed" is fine when both parties are equally at fault. The problem comes when the "widely respected" op-ed writer tries to be "even-handed" where both parties are *not* equally at fault.

Brad DeLong had a fine flight of fancy on this topic. You never do find out why David Broder is naked, however.
9.19.2008 4:59pm
ejo:
the rush limbaugh ad was a flat out lie. there was no nuance in the lie, it was bald faced.

will the press pick up the baton on the egregious lie-you know it won't. wrong party, wrong candidate. any takers for the bet out there?
9.19.2008 5:03pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

If the headlines are true, which Taylor does not dispute, then they're "impartial."


You can't really believe that crap can you?

They use very vivid language to attack one candidate that they don't use when they write pieces against the other. Find one article with such an "over the top" headline about Biden. I dare you.

The headlines use "Trail of Bad Blood" and "Lashed Foes" which are figures of speech so cannot be literaly true. These terms are used to palnt Palin as "dangerous".
9.19.2008 5:08pm
Anderson (mail):
Scott Lemieux is less impressed by Taylor than is EV:

As one would expect, Stuart Taylor's article about the campaigns is a masterpiece of false equivalence, using such tricks as balancing lies and smears from John McCain's campaign with stupid articles in the New York Times that the Obama campaign had nothing to do with. He also somehow gets through an article about campaign lies without mentioning McCain and Palin's constantly repeated howlers about the "bridge to nowhere." He approvingly cites Byron York's defense of the McCain campaign's claim that Obama "wanted to teach kindergartners about sex" while failing to notice that the "age-appropriate" proviso completely destroys York's argument. But I especially enjoyed this one ....

Click for the rest.
9.19.2008 5:09pm
Steve P. (mail):
9.19.2008 5:11pm
Anderson (mail):
Try googling "Obama lashes" vs. "McCain lashes" at Google News &see whatcha get.
9.19.2008 5:13pm
Does it Matter?:
Anderson,

You really do need to get out of your little echo chamber. I know you can't be that dense:

But I am also deeply skeptical when I see front-page headlines like "As Mayor of Wasilla, Palin Cut Own Duties, Left Trail of Bad Blood" (Washington Post, September 14), or "Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes" (New York Times, same day). Such loaded language is a badge not of a newsroom committed to impartial investigation but of an ideological echo chamber.

Bullshit. If the headlines are true, which Taylor does not dispute, then they're "impartial."


I dare say it would be difficult to ever find a candidate elected to office that didn't fire his friends and hire his enemies. You think Webster Hubbell's connections didn't help him? I don't recall Clinton asking US Attorneys to stay on aboard. It's part of the whole "winning" thing. What makes a headline less than impartial is using that headline to draw attention to something that happens in every election and make it seem as though it is the exception rather than the rule. It really isn't that complicated.

I also think it would be hard to find an executive official that hasn't left some bad blood (and if they haven't, you don't want them). Firing people tends to do that, and yet that's an important aspect of any executive office.

You're really turning into Juke Box, which is highly unfortunate. There may be things to pick on in the Taylor article, but calling those headlines impartial is pretty silly.
9.19.2008 5:34pm
Mark Field (mail):

I dare say it would be difficult to ever find a candidate elected to office that didn't fire his friends and hire his enemies.


Actually, I think it would be pretty easy to find such a candidate. It might be hard to find one who did the opposite, though.
9.19.2008 5:39pm
Does it Matter?:
Good catch, Mark.

Yes, I meant it would be hard to find a candidate who didn't fire his enemies and hire his friends. Pretty dense on my part.
9.19.2008 5:44pm
Mark Field (mail):
To make a more substantive point, of course we expect candidates to hire their political allies, but only up to a point. We expect those hired to be qualified for the position; we expect that nepotism (RFK) won't be practiced; we expect that generally technical and non-partisan positions will be exempt from this practice; and we expect that the new hires will be outside the victor's close circle of personal friends (with tolerance for some exceptions). It's all a matter of degree.
9.19.2008 5:45pm
Mark Field (mail):

Pretty dense on my part.


Claim dyslexia and get additional time on your next test.
9.19.2008 5:46pm
Anderson (mail):
DIM -- your initials, dude, I didn't pick 'em -- you want to argue that the headline is unfair, and to do so, you argue that the behavior it describes is commonplace and unremarkable.

I need that one explained to me a bit more.
9.19.2008 5:46pm
Does it Matter?:
It is a matter of degree. But the headline doesn't capture it. Does the story? Is there any sense that Palin left more "bad blood" than any other executive official? Or did the Times simply find a few disgruntled employees and say "she left bad blood," which while true, is hardly remarkable.

And Anderson, while your use of letters may be useful in your Friday night Scrabble game (or is D&D on Friday?), I don't think any more explanation is required other than this: your question has its own answer (try starting with the word "headline").
9.19.2008 5:57pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
By the time he asked her the fourth time having explained the way he understood it, it was clear she didn't really wasn't up on the subtletly between preemptive war (common policy in international world) and preventive war (Bush's idea that the US could attack any country Bush thought might be a threat to US at sometime in the future)
Is that what Gibson was asking? How is it that you are the only one to figure that out?

If you ask a politician an incoherent question, then she is free to answer it however she wants.b Talk to a lawyer who does depositions. You have to ask a clear question if you want the question answered.
9.19.2008 6:02pm
Anderson (mail):
or is D&D on Friday

Would that my schedule permitted. Good times, man ... good times ....
9.19.2008 6:07pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Roger Schlafly:

By the time he asked her the fourth time having explained the way he understood it, it was clear she didn't really understand or wasn't up on the subtletly between preemptive war (common policy in international world) and preventive war (Bush's idea that the US could attack any country Bush thought might be a threat to US at sometime in the future)

Is that what Gibson was asking? How is it that you are the only one to figure that out?


I don't think i was the only one.
1. many didn't really want to look at the dialogue as a whole.
2. It took gibson 4 times to ask the coherent question. It is her answer to the fourth that I think is relevant. Her answer was responsive to the question; just demonstrated that she didn't understand the development from preemptive to preventive; or that she disagreed with McCain and wanted to revert to the much more moderate preemptive.



3. Perhaps
9.19.2008 6:54pm
Federal Dog:
"The headlines use "Trail of Bad Blood" and "Lashed Foes" which are figures of speech so cannot be literaly true."


Since the lashing resulted in the trail of blood, they can.

/leftist media lunacy
9.19.2008 6:55pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
3. Perhaps if she had said already asked and answered before her stab at #4 you could score points in a court room, but i don't think that's the rule for winning an election
9.19.2008 6:55pm
SPO:
Anderson, I don't see how "age-appropriate" destroys McCain on this. The bottom line is that there is no "age-appropriate" sex ed for 5 year olds (I don't see the good touch bad touch as really sex ed--and if that were it, the statute should have only said that), and writing a semi-blank check for fad-driven educators is just plain nuts.
9.19.2008 7:09pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Here is the fourth question:
GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.
I say that Gibson showed a severe misunderstanding of Bush's policies, and the question is incoherent. Nevertheless, Palin gave a completely reasonable reply. Gibson didn't ask about "the development from preemptive to preventive, and there was no reason for Palin to address whatever subtlety you have in mind.
9.19.2008 7:10pm
Asher (mail):
The Bush Doctrine answer is barely defensible, but the fact of the matter is, at no point, neither in Gibson's interview nor in the Hannity, did she ever appear to have a clue as to what she was talking about. Listening to her talk is like playing Mad Libs - if the only phrases you were allowed to use is "ruffle feathers," "change the status quo," "reform Washington," "find efficiencies," and of course, "well what's wrong with a Governor of a state asking for gazillions of federal infrastructure dollars, just like all the other little Governors?"
9.19.2008 7:25pm
LM (mail):
Some comments on this thread make the case for Taylor's tilt to the right, others his tilt to the left. Can we all agree that by calling him "eminently fair and nonpartisan" Eugene exposes his own cheap hackery and bias against everyone? Then we might finish the week off with a few choruses of "Kumbaya," and roast marshmallows over the glowing embers of our former economy.
9.19.2008 7:26pm
Asher (mail):
Oh, and "terrorists hellbent on destroying us," "we must avoid another Cold War," "my running mate is a super-dee-duper macho reformer man," and a couple others.
9.19.2008 7:27pm
titus32:
Pretty funny, LM (in a sad way). Got to go redistribute the remnants of my 401(k) ...
9.19.2008 7:39pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):

preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us

Question seems pretty coherent to me.
Preemptive (example Egypt tanks are actually lining up on the border; Israel doesn't have to wait until Egypt crosses border

we think is going to attack us:
We think (turns out mistakenly) Iraq has WMD and sometime in future they may use them or give them to terrorists; therefore we have the right to start war
9.19.2008 7:41pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"This is supposed to be worse than the "sex-ed for kindergarteners" ad?"

The Illinois bill in question called for education on how AIDS is transmitted for k-12. The old law called for education for 6-12.

Obama said the bill dealt with teaching the kids how to identify and report unwanted touching.

AIDS education doesn't have anything to do with unwanted touching.
9.19.2008 7:51pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"This is supposed to be worse than the "sex-ed for kindergarteners" ad?"

The Illinois bill in question called for education on how AIDS is transmitted for k-12. The old law called for education for 6-12.

Obama said the bill dealt with teaching the kids how to identify and report unwanted touching.

AIDS education doesn't have anything to do with unwanted touching.
9.19.2008 7:54pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

(I am not disputing that it is possible to understand her words as "pray that it is").


Especially if you don't cut those words out of the quotation used.
9.19.2008 7:56pm
Asher (mail):
The Illinois bill in question called for education on how AIDS is transmitted for k-12. The old law called for education for 6-12.

Obama said the bill dealt with teaching the kids how to identify and report unwanted touching.

AIDS education doesn't have anything to do with unwanted touching.


Isn't it pretty obvious that this is just an infelicitously drafted statute, and that, while it could be read to provide for kindergarten sex-ed, that wasn't the intent of the people who wrote it or who voted for it?
9.19.2008 8:09pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Charlie:
(I am not disputing that it is possible to understand her words as "pray that it is").
Especially if you don't cut those words out of the quotation used.

What I was trying to say, however inarticulately, is that people could hear the message differently. I know nothing about Gibson and his religiosity.but perhaps he didn't understand the difference,


I believe the actual words were
"That's what we have to make sure that we are praying for: that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

Seems to me you could understand this as our plan is God's plan. I am not saying Sarah Palin meant it that way, but interesting.

Shouldn't one also be praying for all the combatants on both sides?
9.19.2008 8:35pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
But I am also deeply skeptical when I see front-page headlines like "As Mayor of Wasilla, Palin Cut Own Duties, Left Trail of Bad Blood" (Washington Post, September 14), or "Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes" (New York Times, same day). Such loaded language is a badge not of a newsroom committed to impartial investigation but of an ideological echo chamber.

Bullshit. If the headlines are true, which Taylor does not dispute, then they're "impartial."

I'm kind of looking forward to headlines like "Palin Eviscerates Biden in Debate, Eats His Liver Raw on Live TV" or "McCain Crushes Enemies, Sees Them Driven Before Him; Lamenting Women Hardest Hit."
9.19.2008 8:35pm
one of many:
LM,
Some comments on this thread make the case for Taylor's tilt to the right, others his tilt to the left. Can we all agree that by calling him "eminently fair and nonpartisan" Eugene exposes his own cheap hackery and bias against everyone? Then we might finish the week off with a few choruses of "Kumbaya," and roast marshmallows over the glowing embers of our former economy.


Does that mean we have to trash Taylor's VRWC membership card and cancel the welcome basket. I only ask because I've got dibs on the Toblerone if we're not sending the basket.
9.19.2008 8:38pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Shouldn't one also be praying for all the combatants on both sides?

Ronald Reagan tried that at Bitberg Cemetery. As I recall, the Left didn't like the idea.
9.19.2008 8:40pm
SG:
Isn't it pretty obvious that this is just an infelicitously drafted statute, and that, while it could be read to provide for kindergarten sex-ed, that wasn't the intent of the people who wrote it or who voted for it?

This could be true(*) but I don't expect either candidate to give their opponent the benefit of the doubt during campaign season.

See also: 100 years in Iraq, how many houses do you have, rich is $5million

(*) There was a 2007 ABC News Story entitled
Sex Ed for Kindergarteners 'Right Thing to Do,' Says Obama, so this more charitable reading seems unfounded.

Although given that the Washington Post has just criticized as "dubious" a McCain ad that relied upon "three items in the Washington Post in July and August", perhaps we are supposed to discount any reporting that can be used against Obama.
9.19.2008 9:39pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
SG:
100 years in Iraq: if can only come home after victory and casualties are still occurring,after how many years would McCain say, throw in the towel and come home?

why didn't McCain give a serious answer as to what he thought the dividing line was between middle class and rich?
9.19.2008 10:04pm
LM (mail):

I only ask because I've got dibs on the Toblerone if we're not sending the basket.

Go for it. More marshmallows for me.
9.19.2008 10:22pm
SG:
Johnny Canuck, you're going to have to ask McCain your questions, I can't answer for him.
9.19.2008 11:56pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
SG: I assumed that Obama was allowed to tweak McCain on these two points until McCain committed himself to a serious answer.

Fortunately, since violence is down so dramatically in Iraq, whether as a result of the surge or the other factors, McCain will probably not have to address the first question. Maybe the new populist McCain will have an answer for the second.
9.20.2008 12:42am
SG:
I assumed that Obama was allowed to tweak McCain on these two points until McCain committed himself to a serious answer.

Absolutely. As I said, "I don't expect either candidate to give their opponent the benefit of the doubt during campaign season."
9.20.2008 12:48am
one of many:
Although given that the Washington Post has just criticized as "dubious" a McCain ad that relied upon "three items in the Washington Post in July and August", perhaps we are supposed to discount any reporting that can be used against Obama.

I do love that, the WaPo is too bust fact checking McCain to bother fact checking the WaPo. Perhaps if instead of trying to catch McCain in distorting the truth the WaPo were to put the same effort into keeping the WaPo from distorting the truth then Taylor might trust them.
9.20.2008 12:48am
JosephSlater (mail):
Try googling "Obama lashes" vs. "McCain lashes" at Google News &see whatcha get.

Anderson: Kinky suggestion! But I'm not allowed to look at porn sites at work.
9.20.2008 11:42am
Toby:

Isn't it pretty obvious that this is just an infelicitously drafted statute, and that, while it could be read to provide for kindergarten sex-ed, that wasn't the intent of the people who wrote it or who voted for it?

And this is reassuring why?
9.20.2008 12:17pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

Isn't it pretty obvious that this is just an infelicitously drafted statute, and that, while it could be read to provide for kindergarten sex-ed, that wasn't the intent of the people who wrote it or who voted for it?


If the plain language says A, does it matter if the legislators thought it meant B?
9.20.2008 3:31pm
David Warner:
LM,

Any chance of you getting together with Justin for a few beers to expand his horizons a bit? He's in imminent danger of flunking the Turing test, despite the VC's lenient grading policy.

As for "trusting" the press, I think Taylor's brush is a little too broad. Like a great liberal once said, "Trust, but verify."
9.20.2008 5:13pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Look, the Media is FAR from perfect. But looking at it through a left-right lens (Fox News and Drudge excluded) is going to paint you a *very* incomplete picture of the media's actual flaws and biases.
That's right, Justin. The media's not biased at all -- except for those conservatives. They're of course biased.
9.20.2008 7:50pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Asher - I'm perfectly willing to accept that it was bad drafting and that no one in the legislature realized that they had included STD avoidance education in the list of things to be taught in an age-appropriate fashion to kindergardeners. In fact, I expect that is the case.

But, the accepted practice in political ads and in media coverage of those ads has been that it's a legitimate hit to point out some minor provision of some bill that someone voted for [or against], and say how awful it is that they supported [or opposed] that.

McCain's sex ed ad is being held to a different and tougher standard.

Nick
9.20.2008 10:01pm