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September 17, 2008

Truth, Lies and The Media

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Just two long weeks ago, Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, announced that he had chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate.


For conservative Republicans, the cheering has not yet subsided. On the other hand, the elite media and its Democrat friends immediately ran into the room with hatchets drawn.


Writing for The Wall Street Journal, John Fund noted that “Democrats have airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators, and opposition researchers into Anchorage, the state capital Juneau, and Mrs. Palin's hometown of Wasilla to dig into her record and background. My sources report the first wave arrived in Anchorage less than 24 hours after John McCain selected her on August 29.”


The Democrat National Committee denies this. In all candor, Mr. Fund has more credibility.


No matter how you slice and dice the 2008 presidential election, it is one for the record books. It will be an election that will be studied for many decades to come. On the one hand an African-American will be our next president; or – on the other hand – a woman will be our next vice president.


For many these facts alone are enough to celebrate. Finally, we have candidates running for office that look like the country they intend to lead if elected. In many ways, all of America is the winner.


However, if the country is the winner, the media will, no doubt, not be treated too kindly by history.


Many smirked when sexism and bias showed its ugly head in the Democrat primary season as the media went after New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. At times it was unbearable to watch, or read, as Illinois Sen. Barack Obama could do no wrong and achieved rock star status.


On August 24, Michael Calderone penned an article in which he noted that “Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell was supposed to give ‘closing remarks during (a) Shorenstein Center-sponsored panel discussion with all three Sunday show moderators — NBC’s Tom Brokaw, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CBS’s Bob Schieffer…”


Instead, he opened up a can of worms about bias in 2008 election coverage: “Ladies and gentleman, the coverage of Barack Obama was embarrassing… It was embarrassing… MSNBC was the official network of the Obama campaign… absolutely embarrassing.”


We should all be embarrassed.


At a critical juncture in American history when we simply must have a conversation over our future, the dominant narrative is about Hillary’s pantsuits, Michelle Obama’s 1985 Princeton University Master’s Thesis, and Barack Obama’s pastor.


At a time when we need to discuss the role of America as the policeman of the world, we’re instead are talking about lipstick, pigs, and whether or not John McCain can overcome crippling war wounds so he can Instant Message French President Nickolas Sarkozy about matters of life and death.


As terrorists still lurk patiently in the shadows to kill innocent women and children because they hate us, the mainstream elite media is foaming at the mouth because Governor Palin’s 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, as if that has never happened to the best of families – liberal and conservative.


Meanwhile, in the middle of an energy crisis, fueled in part by our refusal to obtain our own oil on our own soil, the elite media is beaming because Governor Palin was actually “for” the “bridge to nowhere” – the Ketchikan Bridge to Gravina Island – before she was “against” it.


Instead of a meaningful discussion about the problems in our financial markets, health care, and social security, we get a bizarre middle school gem from South Carolina Democratic Party chairwoman Carol Fowler. She sharply attacked Governor Palin, saying Senator McCain had chosen a running mate “whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion,” according to Jonathan Martin, writing for “Politico” on September 10.


That same day, John Hinderaker at “Power Line” noted that “Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee on the floor of the House today (said) Barack Obama is Jesus, and Sarah Palin is Pontius Pilate.”


Another example is found in The New York Times. Jealous of the competition from NBC and MSNBC for being the most unhinged in its pursuit of the “Palin Derangement Syndrome” Holy Grail, The Times wrote on the front-page September 1st that Governor Palin was once a member of the Alaska Independence Party. Who knew? On September 5th, the paper retracted the story on page 14.


Meanwhile, in a move that had the unusual mark of making both Democrats and Republicans happy, MSNBC finally and mercifully yanked Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as co-anchors of its political coverage as a result of the accumulated outrage over their bizarre bias.


To be sure, all the candidates have their strengths and weaknesses. The craziness that has become the 2008 presidential campaign has spawned a number of clearing houses for truth or fiction. One of the most reputable is the St. Petersburg Times’ “” There are other reputable sites. Find one and vote for whichever candidate based on whomever is putting forth the positions you feel is best for our nation and not middle school gibberish.


Meanwhile, one truth that may live on in history is that the credibility of both campaigns and the elite media is headed toward irreparable harm if the childish bitterness continues to be the dominant narrative instead of an adult discussion about pressing issues.


Even former White House political operative Karl Rove recently said: “Both campaigns are making a mistake, and that is they are taking whatever their attacks are and going one step too far… They don't need to attack each other in this way.


“There ought to be an adult who says, 'Do we really need to go that far in this ad?’ ”


Hopefully the last adult standing in the 2008 presidential campaign will turn the lights back on and lead us out of this heart of darkness.


Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster: E-mail him at:


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