The count of prominent Democratic Party politicians who have decided not to attend the Democratic Party's convention in Charlotte, thereby attempting to avoid direct association with the formal renomination of incumbent President Barack Obama, is up to seven. Press coverage has been sparse. One can only imagine how much media end-zone dancing there would have been in 2004 had one governor, one senator and five congresspersons chosen not to attend the Republican National Convention to renominate George W. Bush.
On Thursday, the Hill had the story about the latest declared non-attendee, who admittedly is the least surprising addition to list (internal links are in original):
The strangest thing happened last night on MSNBC -- its self-proclaimed civics geek Rachel Maddow ignored the results not one but two special elections the day before to fill vacancies in the House.
I know, I know, hard to believe. I mean, every time Maddow does report on elections results -- such as when Democrats win -- she'll segue into her reporting by mock drumming to NBC's bombastic election night music in the background. The woman eats and breathes elections. Can there be much doubt that Maddow camped outside her polling place the night before she first cast a vote to avoid lines in the morning? (video after page break)
On Monday, New York Times reporter Raymond Hernandez profiled Democrat Kathy Hochul, the winner of the recent special congressional election to fill a seat from a Republican district in New York state, in "Her Inheritance: An Eagerness to Serve."
Praising the Democrat in personal terms the Times rarely if ever uses when discussing a local Republican like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Hernandez hit every Lincolnesque cliche in the "devout Roman Catholic" Hochul’s humble family background, which he painted as a challenge overcome by the candidate.
A few months before Kathy Hochul was born, her family was living in a 31-by-8-foot trailer not far from the hulking Bethlehem Steel plant near Buffalo. When things got a little better, they moved to the second-floor flat of a home in working-class Woodlawn.
It’s not something the Times does after Republican wins in special or off-year elections - those victories are typically downgraded as unimportant and atypical, like the Times treated the 2009 G.O.P. wins in governors’s races in Virginia and New Jersey, which turned out to be accurate harbingers of electoral success in 2010.
All three network morning shows on Wednesday cheered Democrat Kathy Hochul winning the special election in New York's 26th congressional district and framed the outcome as a rejection of Republican plans to reform Medicare. On NBC's Today, news reporter Ann Curry proclaimed: "The race hinged on Hochul's opposition to a Republican-led plan to make deep cuts in Medicare." [Audio available here]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news reporter Josh Elliot declared Hochul's win to be "a seismic event in the political world" and a "shocking upset." Like Curry, he declared: "The GOP candidate lost after backing that Republican plan to cut billions from Medicare." In reality, the Republican budget plan increases Medicare spending from $563 billion to $953 billion ten years from now. That’s an increase of nearly 70%.
Many in the press are gearing up to present today's special election in New York's 26th Congressional District as a referendum on Republican budget proposals and plans to reform entitlement programs.
MSNBC's website collected examples of such claims from numerous news outlets, including the Associated Press, Roll Call, the Hill, and a pair of local newspapers. Left-wing news outfits such as the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo have also tried to play this card.
The facts belie these claims. A conservative third party candidate seems to have siphoned significant support from the Republican candidate, and polling data suggests district residents support Republican Medicare reform proposals. But don't expect that to stop reporters from making their referendum claims, just as they did after the 2009 special election in upstate New York.
While NB usually focuses on the national news media, sometimes a local news segment is just so brazenly biased that it merits at least a mention.
A local NBC News affiliate in New York decided it would fact-check a National Republican Congressional Committee attack ad aimed at Kathy Hochul, the Democratic candidate for the congressional seat left vacant by former Rep. Chris Lee (R). The segment, which called some NRCC claims "false" and others "misleading," is such a transparent - and poor - attempt to provide cover for Hochul that Townhall's Guy Benson wondered whether it was "the worst 'fact check' ever" (though he decided that honor should go to Politifact).
Check out the ad in question - and NBC2's attempt at rebuttal - below the break.