OMG: God, Jerusalem Back in Dem Platform Despite Virtual Press Blackout; AP Pair Lets Obama Take Full Credit
Well, it looks like we have a bit of evidence that, contrary to an assertion by a pair of Politico reporters, it's not the media elites who can "powerfully shape" the narrative coming out of party conventions (the issue in question there was how Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech would be spun).
After all, as Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters noted earlier today, the three major networks have totally ignored the omission of "God" in the Democratic Party's platform, and have only lightly covered the platform's failure to name Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Despite that, and therefore obviously because of center-right media pressure (and semi-sensible Dems sensing disastrous election fallout), those issues now are both like Prego spaghetti sauce -- i.e., they're in there. Associated Press reporters Julie Pace and Steve Peoples seemed a bit unhappy with this turn of events in the version of their dispatch which appeared shortly after 6 PM ET, and tried to pin the entire blame on Republicans:
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Democrats change platform to add God, Jerusalem
Embarrassed by Republicans, Democrats amended their convention platform Wednesday to add a mention of God and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Many in the audience booed after the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments had been approved despite the fact that a large group of delegates had objected. He called for a vote three times before ruling.
The party reinstated language from the 2008 platform that said "we need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."
It also reinstated its 2008 language that Jerusalem "is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths."
Democrats had approved a platform on Tuesday that made no mention of God or Jerusalem. Instead, it expressed "unshakable commitment to Israel's security."
Republicans pounced quickly on both omissions.
Let's be clear here. "Republicans" could have "pounced" all they wanted and the Democrats wouldn't have cared a bit if it weren't for the obviously very public outcry raised primarily in New Media (as Whitlock noted, Old Media largely sat it out).
An hour later, Pace and Josh Lederman swallowed the spin that it was all President Obama's idea to put God and Jerusalem back into the platform. They seem to have done so quite hastily. As seen here, the headline at the actual story hasn't changed from the one used in the earlier piece, but the story's title in a related search at AP's national site reads "AP SOURCES: OBAMA INTERVENED ON PLATFORM." Here are the first few paragraphs of what sure looks like an exercise in posterior-covering:
Needled by Mitt Romney and other Republicans, Democrats hurriedly rewrote their convention platform Wednesday to add a mention of God and declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel after President Barack Obama intervened to order the changes.
The embarrassing reversal was compounded by chaos and uncertainty on the convention floor, requiring three votes before a ruling that the amendments had been approved. Many in the audience booed the decision.
The episode exposed tensions on Israel within the party, put Democrats on the defensive and created a public relations spectacle as Obama arrived in the convention city to claim his party's nomination for a second term.
The language in the party platform - a political document - does not affect actual U.S. policy toward Israel. The administration has long said that determining Jerusalem's status is an issue that should be decided in peace talks by Israelis and Palestinians.
Obama intervened directly to get the language changed both on Jerusalem and to reinstate God in the platform, according to campaign officials who insisted on anonymity to describe behind-the-scenes party negotiations. They said Obama's reaction to the omission of God from the platform was to wonder why it was removed in the first place.
Give me a break.
If Obama really was behind this, Julie and Josh, why didn't LA Mayor Villaraigosa invoke Dear Leader as the champion of the re-insertions in an attempt to quell the controversy on the convention floor (which it almost surely would have)? And if Obama "intervened to order the changes," why did the issue come up on the convention floor in the first place? Well, they're from Administration's Press, which means that they probably won't ask that obvious question.
I'm not buying what the three reporters involved are selling.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog..com.