Thursday, April 17, 2008

Trying to care. Really.

The Democrats debated. Some people watched. I didn't. Some people cared. I didn't. But I'll blog about it, because you might care. And I care about you.

Marc Armbinder:
Keeping the score card, there's no way Obama could [have] fared worse. Nearly 45 minutes of relentless political scrutiny from the ABC anchors and from Hillary Clinton, followed by an issues-and-answers session in which his anger carried over and sort of neutered him.
Ed Morrisey:
Thanks to a surprisingly tenacious set of questions . . . from ABC moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous, Barack Obama got exposed over and over again as an empty suit, while Hillary cleaned his clock.
OK, so that's two judges scoring it a decisive victory for my close personal friend, Hillary. Why do I suspect Obama's supporters are going to be screaming bloody murder? Let's see.

The Nation:
And the winner of the 21st debate of the Democratic presidential race is . . . Right-Wing Talking Points. . . .
Instead of engaging in a needed discussion about economic issues -- especially the trade policies that are devastating the Keystone State and so much of the rest of the country -- the Democratic contenders sounded as if they were reading outtakes from a particularly lame Bill O'Reilly program. . . .
The line of questioning from ABC "News" personalities Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos -- Wednesday night's moderators, who pummeled Obama for most of the night -- almost made a viewer long for a long-winded intervention by the CNN's self-absorbed but reasonably serious Wolf Blitzer.
Call the suicide-prevention hotline! You know a political journalist has lost hope when he starts pining to watch Wolf Blitzer.

But seriously, did you catch the left-wing spin there? The Democrats are convinced that the economy is going to be a big winning issue for them in 2008, so if the debate moderators want to talk about anything else, the moderators are accused of being GOP shills.

Similar angle from Greg Mitchell (!) at HuffPo:
In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia. They, and their network, should hang their collective heads in shame.
Right. On consecutive days this week, Mitchell's HuffPo columns expressed outrage that anyone would suspect Obama of Marxism. (Heh.) The Democratic debate that an Obama supporter like Mitchell wants is one in which the moderators deliver slow-pitch softballs over the heart of the plate, so that the Democratic candidates can take turns denouncing the Bush administration.

In Greg Mitchell's (wet) dream debate, Charlie Gibson would ask, "Senator Obama, please tell us how you plan to reverse the horrendous damage that the criminal Bush regime has done to the Constitution?" And then Obama would give a two-minute lecture about the Fourth Amendment and why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should have been read the Miranda warning and given a pro-bono lawyer from the ACLU.

Instead, Obama has to answer a question about why he's buddy-buddy with Weather Underground terrorist mastermind Billy Ayers, and Mitchell condemns this as "trivial."

Oh, did I mention that Greg Mitchell is -- I kid you not -- the editor of Editor & Publisher, the leading professional journal of professional journalism?

Obviously, I would never argue that people with strong political opinions can't be professional journalists; such an argument would be self-defeating. I am merely wondering if E&P ever prints columns and articles by such professional journalists as Patrick J. Buchanan, Tony Snow, Cal Thomas and Michelle Malkin. And I'm also wondering if E&P has any staffers who post their opinion blogs at or

I am wondering these things, but I don't really care. Honest, I don't. The collapsing viability of the journalism business is not something I take personally, so when the editor of the newspaper industry's leading professional journal starts shilling for Obama on Huffington Post, I view the subject with a serenely Olympian detachment.

Why am I so placid? Because I am objective and neutral, as are all professional journalists.

UPDATE: Speaking of professional journalists, Andrew Sullivan is heartsick over Obama's "lifeless" performance in Wednesday's debate. Anyone doubting my assertion that complaints about Wednesday's questions are a barometer of support for Obama should note how Andrew -- a flaming Obamaphile -- laments the way his idol was "subjected to [a] series of attacks on his integrity, faith, patriotism, decency and honesty."

And while I'm at it, does anyone think it somewhat . . . unseemly that George Stephanopoulos, a lifelong Democratic Party operative who was a Clinton campaign aide and Clinton administration staffer, should be asking questions of Obama and Hillary in a crucial debate? Isn't it possible that his partisanship or his Clintonian loyalties might make some people -- Obama supporters, for instance -- suspect that Stephanopoulos isn't being entirely fair?

Not that I care about it. However, I suspect that such an issue might be of interest to Greg Mitchell, who is an eminent journalist and an arbiter of professional ethics.

1 comment:

  1. You raise the point about Stephanopoulos...I'd raise the same point about the whole debate (judging from what I've read - I didn't watch/listen to it). It sounds to me like it was a last ditch effort to swing Pa to Clinton. The problem the Dems have is that if Clinton becomes too strong a challenger, they're in a bind. I don't think Obama can win in the general, but if they nominate Clinton, they're going to have one angry (one might even say "bitter") bunch of black voters out there. It really would be better (for the Dem Party) to nominate Obama, take the loss and move on to 2012 - they'll probably still have the Congress, and McCain is more than ready to push through way too many of the Dems favorite positions. With McCain in the Presidency, the Dems still win. do they gain if Clinton is shown to be a really strong contender? I really have to wonder...