The general election has apparently begun. This week, the liberal media launched a pre-emptive attack on Republican campaign tactics even as TV interviewers slobbered all over Barack Obama. Here are the Media Research Center’s "Worst of the Week" (audio and video links below the fold):
# GOP: Merchants of Slime and Hate. It’s Hillary Clinton’s campaign, not the GOP, which has pummeled Barack Obama these past weeks, but journalists are nevertheless impugning Republicans as dirty campaigners. The May 19 Newsweek cover story channeled Democratic talking points to claim "the Republican Party has been successfully scaring voters since 1968." (Ever listen to Democratic rhetoric on Social Security?) Co-authors Richard Wolffe and Evan Thomas questioned whether John McCain really wanted to "rein in the merchants of slime and sellers of hate who populate the Internet...who exercise their freedom in ways that give a bad name to free speech."
Pre-emptively bashing Republicans as campaign meanies was a media theme this week. On May 4, the New York Times ran a front-page political memo whining about the first Bush campaign: "’88 Campaign Offers a Lesson In Using Symbols as Bludgeons." On May 9, NBC’s Matt Lauer suggested Obama’s ties to Jeremiah Wright might be "swift boated" by Republicans in a fall election campaign. [Audio/video (0:25): Windows Media (1.50 MB) and MP3 audio (99 kB)]
Five days earlier, CBS’s Dean Reynolds also conjured images of the 2004 campaign as he asserted: "’Out of the mainstream’ is a charge Republicans habitually make against Democrats. It’s code for ‘unpatriotic.’ And it worries Democrats that it’s been so effective against their candidates in the past — even those who’ve received the Purple Heart." [Audio/video (0:20): Windows Media (1.27 MB) and MP3 audio (76 kB)]
# Interviewers Coddle Obama. ABC, CBS and CNN all refused to ask Obama about his embarrassing ex-pastor in a round of May 5 interviews, with CNN’s John Roberts even boasting: "We are declaring a Reverend Wright-free zone today." After Obama’s big North Carolina win, NBC’s Brian Williams on May 8 offered the candidate a glimpse at Time’s cover declaring him the Democratic winner: "Have you yet held this in your hands?" [Audio/video (1:01): Windows Media (3.86 MB) and MP3 audio (291 kB)]
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was just as punishing with Obama: “Your mother raised you. She was on food stamps at one point, a single mother. If she were alive today and saw where you have reached...what would she say?"