This certainly wasn’t something I expected to see published just hours before a crucial election, but there it was in Monday’s Washington Post (hat tip to Patterico), “Soldiers in Iraq Say Pullout Would Have Devastating Results.” Granted, Josh White’s fabulous piece got relegated to page A13. But, let’s not look a gift-horse in the mouth (emphasis mine throughout):
For the U.S. troops fighting in Iraq, the war is alternately violent and hopeful, sometimes very hot and sometimes very cold. It is dusty and muddy, calm and chaotic, deafeningly loud and eerily quiet.
The one thing the war is not, however, is finished, dozens of soldiers across the country said in interviews. And leaving Iraq now would have devastating consequences, they said.
The panel of "mainstream" reporters on PBS's Friday night "Washington Week" roundtable sounded typically sympathetic to John Kerry's "botched joke" excuses, and dismissed its importance to the election. PBS host Gwen Ifill called it the "Kerry kerfluffle." Which is also a botched joke of some sort, since she must have meant "kerfuffle." (Doesn't she read her daily Taranto at Opinion Journal?)
Ifill: Let's talk about some of the other things that we're not certain how they will affect the outcome on Tuesday. One this week I called the ‘Kerry kerfluffle,’ where Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee last time around, came out and he said a few things which many Democrats found unhelpful. And many Republicans found to be a godsend and by the end of the week we don't know how it washes. Let's listen again."
Sparks flew on the set of NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, after Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole observed about Iraq, “It’s almost as if the Democrats, you know, it’s like they’re content with losing because to pull out, to withdraw from this war is losing. No question about it.”
Both moderator Tim Russert and Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel immediately berated Dole for her statement, but this morning a liberal Boston Globe columnist reveals the real Democratic mindset on Iraq, suggesting the U.S. must “accept defeat” in Iraq.
Dole made her comment about 40 minutes into the hour-long debate between the GOP senatorial and congressional campaign committee chairman and their Democratic counterparts. After Russert brought up a Vanity Fair article quoting some Iraq war supporters as criticizing the way the war has been handled, Dole responded by going after the Democrats’ position of withdrawing troops regardless of whether their mission has been accomplished.
Like today's election, British writer Christopher Hitchens says in The Times that the media spun what issues were important for the 1960 election. Despite the raging Cold War, the media determined that the most important issue was "Nixon’s unshaven jowls as exposed in the first televised debate."
It has been a quarter of a century since I moved to the United States but now it comes back to me how I used to resent the way in which Americans made up their minds. In the first election I was able to follow — the Nixon-Kennedy race in 1960 — there were American nuclear bases in Britain, and great American decisions to be taken about free trade and other matters that affected us all directly. Yet from the American press I learnt that the whole thing hinged on Nixon’s unshaven jowls as exposed in the first televised debate.
These days I spend a good deal of my time defending my adopted country from what I have to call anti-American attitudes, many of them based on what seem to me a mixture of envy and ignorance. But, yes, I tell the BBC man when he finally calls back, there is quite a lot of argument this fall about whether or not American schoolchildren should be exposed to the ideas first promulgated by Charles Darwin in the mid-Victorian epoch. Indeed, the subject has begun to open a split in the Republican Party, as well as between it and its critics. There is a brief silence on the line.
This is pretty hysterical. On Sunday, three different polls – Pew Research Center, USA Today/Gallup, and Washington Post/ABC News – were released showing evidence that the preference for Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections has been surging in the past couple of weeks, with the gap favoring Democrats now down to between four and seven percentage points. However, Newsweek released the results of its own poll Saturday, and the magazine actually sees the Democrats expanding their lead. I kid you not (emphasis mine throughout):
Today's Wall Street Journal online edition features an important essay by sociologist James Q. Wilson examining how the American press has turned into an unpatriotic and anti-war entity. He also explains why this matters: because educated people are likely to be swayed by the media's coverage of events, whether that coverage is accurate or not.
A few excerpts:
We are told by careful
pollsters that half of the American people believe that American troops
should be brought home from Iraq immediately. This news discourages
supporters of our efforts there. Not me, though: I am relieved. Given
press coverage of our efforts in Iraq, I am surprised that 90% of the
public do not want us out right now.
Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2005,
nearly 1,400 stories appeared on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news.
More than half focused on the costs and problems of the war, four times
as many as those that discussed the successes. About 40% of the stories
reported terrorist attacks; scarcely any reported the triumphs of
American soldiers and Marines. The few positive stories about progress
in Iraq were just a small fraction of all the broadcasts.
The White House bureau chief for United Press International since forever (until she quit when it was acquired by the company that owns the conservative Washington Times) at 87 she's now a syndicated columnist for Hearst News Service. She tells the Inquirer:
"I'm a liberal, I was born a liberal, and I will be a liberal till the day I die. That has nothing to do with whether or not this administration is telling the truth. Nor does it have anything to do with the way I presented my stories when I was a news reporter. When I was reporting news, as a person I never bowed out of the human race -- I felt my feelings and had my opinions about things, just as anyone does -- but it never got into my copy. I was never accused of slanting my copy."
Over at GetReligion, newlywed Mollie Hemingway forwarded to her blog audience an e-mail from a reporter comparing Ted Haggard to much-celebrated gay Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson. The big difference between the two is which side of the political/cultural divide they stand on:
A pastor is married for years, has children, runs a successful church, advances in his denomination/sector of Christianity, and then “finds himself” and abandons wife and children for a live-in situation with another man. His reward? Consecration as a bishop in the Protestant Episcopal Church of America and wide-ranging media praise. LATimes, I believe, had a nice kiss-up interview with Gene Robinson just this week.
We should have seen this one coming. The New York Times doesn't think the Saddam trial was fair enough and wants his death penalty delayed.
With the same solicitude it reserves for politically-correct domestic criminals, the Times editorial of this morning opines that Saddam's trial "fell somewhere short" of "an exemplary exercise in the rule of law." In the Times' view, the trial represented neither "full justice" nor "full fairness."
And as an opponent of the death penalty even for mass murderers, the Times predictably advises the appeals court to "defer the carrying out of any death penalty long enough to allow the completion of a second trial."
Chris Matthews just couldn't wipe that grin off his face. Interviewing him on this morning's 'Today,' Meredith Vieira began by suggesting that despite the tough electoral environment for Republicans, polls over the weekend were showing movement in their direction. She started to pose a question, but so distracting was Matthews' mugging that she couldn't continue, asking instead "why are you smiling?"
"Because I think it's going to be a wipe-out. I think the Democrats are going to carry the House by 20-some, high-20s and I think the Senate seats are perhaps not six, but five, and I can see a big victory for the Democrats."
In Monday's Media Notes column in the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz found the media are attracted to polls like crack cocaine, and they've "grown addicted to the GOP-in-trouble narrative." Kurtz says it isn't about liberal bias, but the desire for a change in story line. Riiight. Journalists confirm that Democrats have been boasting of a takeover:
"If you mention something enough times, you make it seem as if it must be so," says NBC's Williams. But, he says, "if the media are guilty of beating the Democratic House takeover drums, the media share that guilt with prominent Democrats, who in on- and off-the-record settings have indeed been all but measuring the drapes."
Imagine if you will that a month ago, a major newspaper, in combination with a major polling organization, had pronounced that the Republicans were ahead by 23 percentage points in voter preference for the upcoming midterm elections. Further imagine that just two weeks ago, this lead had been trimmed to thirteen. And, just for argument’s sake, with two days to go before the pivotal elections, the Democrats had cut this lead to only seven points. Do you think the opening paragraph in the article on this subject by this major, left-leaning newspaper might address this?
Well, USA Today just posted an article at its website (hat tip to The Strata-Sphere) concerning a new poll done with the Gallup Organization (this author is waiting with baited breath for the full results to be published!), and the most important finding of the survey didn’t come until the sixth paragraph (emphasis mine): “What's more, President Bush's last-ditch push for votes and Sen. John Kerry's comments that seemed to denigrate the education level of U.S. forces in Iraq have helped energize GOP voters. A Democratic advantage of 23 percentage points a month ago and 13 points two weeks ago is now down to 7.”
Instead of leading with that important information, the reader had to wade through the following:
According to MSNBC's Chris Matthews, if Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford loses Tuesday, you can blame it on white conservatives. On Sunday morning, as he appeared in a segment hosted by Alex Witt, Matthews chided whites for an unwillingness to vote for black politicians, contending that "blacks vote for whites," but "whites don't vote for blacks." Matthews added that in states with large black populations, fear leads whites to become conservative Republicans. Matthews: "The larger the black population, where the whites are afraid historically, and in Deep South states, they tend to become very conservative Republican out of fear, whatever, of an overwhelming, or a large number of African-Americans because of the kind of culture." Ignored by Matthews was the willingness of white conservatives to support black statewide candidates like Maryland's Michael Steele, Ohio's Kenneth Blackwell, and Pennsylvania's Lynn Swann, in this year's elections, while white liberals will be supporting white Democratic candidates instead, demonstrating that party affiliation is the deciding factor in whether white conservatives vote for a black candidate. Notably, in Maryland's Senate primary, Democratic voters rejected black Democratic candidate Kweisi Mfume, a former Congressman, in favor of white candidate and Congressman Benjamin Cardin during their party's primary, while the Republican nominee, Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, is black. (Transcript follows)
Another poll was released on Sunday showing a late surge of support for Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections on Tuesday (grateful hat tip to NB reader American Infidel). This time it’s the Pew Research Center defying conventional wisdom (emphasis mine throughout):
A nationwide Pew Research Center survey finds voting intentions shifting in the direction of Republican congressional candidates in the final days of the 2006 midterm campaign. The new survey finds a growing percentage of likely voters saying they will vote for GOP candidates. However, the Democrats still hold a 48% to 40% lead among registered voters, and a modest lead of 47%-43% among likely voters.
In my first piece about this surprising Washington Post/ABC News poll published on Sunday indicating that the Republicans have been picking up ground on the Democrats in the past two weeks, I said that it would be interesting to see how this survey got reported. As compared to what ABC’s “This Week” did Sunday morning (i.e. beginning the program discussing it), CBS’s response was much more predictable. However, what was peculiar is the person CBS used to discredit the data given his pedigree and bona fides.
With that in mind, Bob Schieffer invited CBS political analyst Stuart Rothenberg on Sunday’s “Face the Nation.” Rothenberg made it clear that he sees a big Democrat victory in the House on Tuesday (up to 40 seats), and the Democrats picking up four to seven seats in the Senate (video here). As the discussion moved to who will actually turn out to vote, Rothenberg questioned the methodology of the Washington Post/ABC News poll:
This Thursday New York Times article slipped under the radar until Howard Kurtz referred to it Sunday morning on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” Thanks for the hat tip, Howard. Anyway, it was rather shocking – even though it was buried on page A22 – to see a headline like “G.O.P. Ads Star Democratic Leader” at the Times. Even more amazing were the opening paragraphs (links to four of these ads follow):
Representative Melissa Bean of Illinois, a Democrat, has a Republican opponent in next week’s election, but he does not appear in the advertisement that skewers her. Instead, that role is being played by a fellow Democrat, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader.
Judging by some of the political name-calling in the final days before the elections, Ms. Pelosi seems to be in the thick of campaigns for Congress from Illinois to Georgia and several places in between. She is the unwitting star of at least a half-dozen television spots — and countless radio spots, direct-mail campaigns and candidate debates —warning voters that if they choose their local Democrat for Congress, they are also casting a vote for Ms. Pelosi.
After casting some doubt over whether this strategy will work given how little-known Pelosi is around the country, the article continued with a fairly anti-Nancy focus:
In a piece early Sunday morning concerning a new Washington Post/ABC News poll showing the Republicans gaining strength heading into Tuesday’s elections, I said that it would be interesting to see how this would be covered, “especially by ABC tomorrow on ‘This Week’ and ‘World News Tonight.’” Well, we have the answer on the former, and you better sit down because it’s quite shocking: “This Week” actually began its program this morning with this poll.
After the teaser, George Stephanopoulos introduced “World News Tonight” anchor Charles Gibson, and after some pleasantries said: “But first, a little election news this morning. We have a new poll out this morning, an ABC poll, it shows the race has tightened.”
On this morning's Meet The Press, Tim Russert tried to pass off the editorial in the "Army Times" and sister publications calling for Donald Rumsfeld's noggin as having some special significance. RNCC Chairman Tom Reynolds didn't let him get away with it. Reynolds exposed those so-called "military newspapers" as nothing more than cogs in the Gannett chain, a member-in-good-standing of the MSM whose flagship paper is the reliably-liberal USA Today.
Russert flashed the panel of the editorial shown here, and asked Reynolds:
Here's an antidote from an unlikely corner for all the Dem outrage at the 'November surprise' of the Saddam verdict. On this morning's 'Today,' none other than Chris Matthews just pronounced his considered opinion that the verdict actually helps . . . the Democrats.
According to Matthews, given the unpopularity of the war, anything that draws attention to Iraq hurts Republicans. Apparently that even extends to a good-news story such as the Saddam verdict. Opined Matthews to host Lester Holt:
"One general rule would be anything that brings attention to Iraq is bad for the Republicans. I think Iraq's become a four-letter word for the voter. And this trial and condemnation of Saddam Hussein is probably going to remind us of Iraq again. It's probably going to help the Democrats to some extent."