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October 19, 2008


Endorsements may indeed not matter a whole lot. This endorsement though is perhaps a little different in that it makes the McCain campaign effort to paint Barack Obama as someone dangerous even more difficult.

"Well, if Colin Powell says he's OK, then what is McCain talking about?"

It just adds to the enormous weight of material that the Obama campaign can use to say, "Hey, he's OK. If you don't agree with us, go talk to Colin Powell."

To the extent that it helps to create or reinforce a disconnect between reality and the McCain message, it's much more effective than the usual endorsement. The perceived wisdom is that even though Powell's reputation has been shredded a little, his words still carry weight.

It's also likely that Powell feels a need to begin to disconnect his own reputation from the Republican party as it exists today. Whether he's positioning to have a voice later on for an effort to move the Republican Party back more towards the center or whether he's just plain disgusted with the last eight years (or both) is something that only he knows.


The most notable thing about Powell's endorsement is that he explicitly called "foul" on the tactic of accusing Obama of being a Muslim - as though that were a slur against Obama instead of a demonstration of the bigotry of the accuser.

I agree with the Politico article that Powell's endorsement is particularly helpful because of Obama's limited military background.

I would love to see Brendan try to prove that reporting of attacks on Obama's race, religion, patriotism, etc. have been limited. I think such reporting has been excessive. E.g., it was widely reported that someone at a Palin rally yelled of Obama, "Kill him!" However, according to the Secret Service that report was unfounded.

Instapundit today had a comment relevant to Brendan's allegation of under-reporting of vituperation:

THE POLITICS OF "HATE" AND "RAGE" -- from Jon Stewart? "The media has devoted hundreds of stories of late to the tenor of audience comments at McCain-Palin rallies, fretting about 'rage' and 'incitement' by the campaign, but the only account of Stewart's appearance is a one-sentence mention in the Boston Globe, and his abusive Palin comments are not included." Video at the link.

Meanwhile, a report of shots fired at the McCain-Palin bus.

UPDATE: "She is not a woman. She is a Republican."

It was widely reported that someone at a Palin rally yelled of Obama, "Kill him!" However, according to the Secret Service that report was unfounded.

More precisely, the report was uncorroborated. The Secret Service didn't find any other witnesses to verify the claim. The word "unfounded" is from the FOX news headline, not from an official quote.

I don't blame McCain or Palin for everything shouted at their rallies, but, since the report in the Scranton Times Tribune, we've heard recordings of people shouting "terrorist", "traitor" and "Arab". And we've also seen video of a McCain/Palin supporter with Obama hung in effigy in his yard.

That's lends a bit more credibility to the "kill him" comment than I can find for your "shots fired" allegation - an allegation that seems to be based exclusively on a rumor spread by the "STOP OBAMA TOUR"

Jinchi, we can debate whether the words "Kill him" were correctly heard by only one listener at a particular rally. But, you can hear with your own ears starting about 1:10 Bill Maher on TV saying he hopes Sarah Palin is reincarnated as a wolf and shot from a plane. Then, you hear the audience disgustingly cheer and applaud that comment.

Neither you nor Brendan can find a video tape like the one I cited above, where a noted speaker at a Palin rally says of Obama or Biden, "[Expletive] You."

If some TV host said that he hoped Obama was reincarnated as a wolf and shot from a plane, that would be a front page news. That host would be fired.

I agree with you that there are many reports of crude comments against Obama. But, these reports have nothing like the evidence or seriousness of the two celebrity insults I cite here. IMHO that shows that the reporting is utterly skewed. The media have picked a narrative and are running with it.

I think both your examples are the same, David. When someone yelled, "kill him," about Obama, some Republicans would want that. And, taking literally what Stewart said about Palin, some Republicans would want that as well. They're not wearing "hot governor from a cold state" buttons for nothing.

Few Republicans believe in reincarnation, and Maher doesn't either, so what's all the hoopla about? Maher's not at the campaign rallies. And neither is Stewart. And neither is Michelle Malkin.

As for reports of those smears, they have gotten major news coverage, mainly because the media is often being verbally attacked (and once physically) at McCain/Palin rallies. It's a disaster for a campaign running on public funding to attack the only people that can spread the message (if the McCain campaign had a consistent message to spread) for free.

Sean-B, you have a point about the media reponding to verbal attacks against them. As I recall, Palin's acceptance speech at the Convention included a slam at the media. Her introductory statement at the debate included a shot at the media. It's not surprising that they would respond by making extra efforts to dig up dirt on Palin and to show her in a bad light.

Nevertheless, the media are supposed to give accurate, unbiased news reporting. Although Palin's attacks may help explain their bias, that's not a valid excuse for unbalanced media coverage.

An argument that proves itself.

1) site a earlier claim of media bias.
2) use the earlier claim of media bias to demonstrate that there is a motive for an even greater current media bias against the claimant / so it must exist.


The huge problem with Palin is she wasn't ready to be a Vice Presidential candidate. People cried out that the media attacked her when the questions were either easy to answer or easily deferred. Any politician worth their salt can obfuscate when necessary.

If Palin had been briefed thoroughly over a period of months as most likely Obama and Bush were by their campaigns, it wouldn't have happened. But you can't use media bias as an excuse for poor planning by the McCain camp. It's a huge copout.

Another problem with the media bias claim is that people want to have it both ways with their sources. A good example is the National Enquirer. Some conservatives bolstered its reputation when the Edwards scandal came to light. But once the Enquirer stoked rumors about Palin, they claimed she was unfairly attacked. Is the Enquirer biased?

Is Chris Matthews biased? I'm confused. Media Matters says he's biased. News Busters says he's biased. Which is it?

Lastly, what is considered to be the media any more? Some would consider the Free Republic and Little Green Footballs to be biased forums, but they broke the Rathergate story. Are they biased?

So who is the media today? Is Rush Limbaugh the media? Jon Stewart? David Letterman? Glenn Reynolds? Brendan Nyhan?

Bias now seems not to be about the truth, not even the impact of the truth, but why and when the truth is disclosed to the public. People are afraid that information will score three points against them in a game where nobody knows what the score is.

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