File this one under wishful thinking -- or simply just another case of a liberal newspaper trying to help President Barack Obama's floundering re-election effort. The Tennessean, the daily newspaper in Tennessee's capital city Nashville, over the weekend trumpeted this headline: "Vanderbilt Poll: Obama Closes Gap With Romney."
According to the article, Obama is just one point behind Romney in one of the reddest states in the South, a state John McCain won in 2008 by 15.1 percentage points over Obama. It's also a state where the Republican Party captured near two-thirds majorities in both houses of the state legislature in 2010 and where voters chose Republicans in 7 of 9 congressional districts. The state has a popular Republican governor elected in landslide that same year, and both its U.S. Senators are Republicans.
So … how does it appear that Obama has “closed the gap” with Romney?
According to Poole, the Masjid Al-Noor mosque in Memphis posted an event entitled "A Weekend with Mohammed al-Hanooti" for the non-weekend dates of July 13 through 15 on its website. He has a screenshot of the mosque's event page and says that it is genuine, however, local Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal's Michael Lollar disputed Poole's findings in an article entitled "Hamas fundraiser not speaking at mosque."
Lollar only addressed the side of the mosque's administrators. According to Poole, Lollar made no attempt to contact him and Lollar's language in the article was dismissive of Poole's post, to the point of making it seem as though independently verifiable facts used by Poole were merely allegations and suppositions.
See, the thing that makes crazy people, well... crazy, is that they don't do things like normal people. Laws, rules, even simple human kindness is meaningless to such unbalanced people. The same can be said of criminals. See the thing that makes them criminals is that they don't obey laws. But the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Rich Locker seems to think making a law will magically make a wacko suddenly heed reason. On top of that, to illustrate his allusion he conflates the criminal actions of a man in Alabama to laws in Tennessee in order to justify his anti-gun sentiment for Tennesseans. Will these disingenuous Old Media types never learn a love of logic?
The tragic and criminal actions of the nut in Alabama that killed 10 people in a wild traveling rampage served as Locker's platform to advocate for a Tennessee law that would make illegal the carrying load guns in a vehicle. He seems to insinuate that such a law would have prevented the sicko in Alabama from driving around killing people. Locker neglects to reveal how some words on a piece of paper, though, could prevent a madman from transporting a loaded gun in a car.
Against the odds, GOP candidates in the state of Tennessee experienced a historic win. In addition to delivering the state to John McCain, Republicans won both chambers of the state legislature. And, as the Wall Street Journal reported, "Sen. Lamar Alexander became the first Republican to carry all but one county in his re-election win -- even taking a quarter of Tennessee's black votes."
Sure, it's garden variety AP labeling/double-standard bias, but it bears busting anyway.
At KnoxNews.com (h/t NB reader coffee260), one can read the tale of Nashville, Tennessee, state representative Rob Briley, who "has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and property damage prior to leading authorities on a high-speed chase last September." Briley is a Democrat, but his party affiliation was not mentioned in the 6-paragraph story.
Yet another AP dispatch on another state politician, this one from Maryland, had a quite different treatment of that legislator's political affiliation.
Last year's most bizarre and famously icky sex scandal was, of course, Senator Larry Craig's airport bathroom incident, in which the Idaho Republican was alleged to have been soliciting homosexual sex from an undercover cop. Suffice it to say no one who came across the story could walk away without knowing Craig's party affiliation, and in some cases his record as a conservative with some libertarian-friendly stances.
So how did the Associated Press's Bill Poovey treat a former Democratic Tennessee judge with an arguably nastier, kinkier, more disturbing sexual predilection? Not one mention of John B. Hagler's Democratic Party affiliation in Poovey's 23-paragraph January 2 story, even though the judge's sex fantasy recording sure spooked at least one veteran police officer (emphasis mine, h/t NB reader Chris Mario):
All of the attention in the media in recent days over reports of cheers in the Seattle Times newsroom over Karl Rove leaving the White House, and boos in the MSNBC newsroom during a George W. Bush State of the Union speech, don't surprise me. I've seen this kind of naked and unprofessional expression of political bias against Republicans in a newsroom before.
My first job in a newspaper newsroom was in Abilene, Texas. I could not have told you what any one of my co-workers there thought about politics. Ditto for my second daily newspaper job, at the newspaper in Lubbock, Texas, and my third, at the newspaper in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Political bias was a little more on display at my fourth job, at a business weekly in Nashville, but nothing like what happened at the Tennessean on election night in 1994.
Today's Nashville Tennessean newspaper featured a misleading headline: Skipping Sunday School costs jobs at religious publisher. The headline makes it appear that a religious publisher fired employees who skipped Sunday school. The story, though, is much different - declining Sunday school attendance across a certain Christian denomination has led to less business for that denomination's main publisher of Sunday school materials, leading to job cuts.
The headline was accurate but false. I was still feeling tricked by that headline when I happened upon a blog post that lead me to this report from Slate's Jack Shafer about new research indicating that fewer than 2 percent of factually flawed articles are corrected in the nation's daily newspapers.
Cam Edwards at NRANews.com offered something interesting to add to the Geoff Dickens list of Matt Lauer's frequent episodes of anti-gun bias. In August 2000, Lauer interviewed Knoxville, Tennessee auto dealer Greg Lambert about how apparently outrageous it was that Lambert offered guns as part of his car sales pitch. (I break down laughing when Lauer says "Even children who come to your dealership are going to get a free water pistol, and some people say that's just going too far.")
But here's the Greg Lambert story Matt Lauer hasn't done. In November 2006, Lambert used his own gun to defend himself against a 19-year-old man who came to buy a car, and then decided to hold him up. When faced with Lambert's gun, the man fled and was later arrested. (A Knoxville TV station offered early details here.) The Knoxville News Sentinel then added that the county sheriff was charging the assailant with a murder that occurred ten hours earlier.
There are occasions in the news coverage of campaigns where fevered imagination kicks in and calm, comparative reason takes a holiday. Here we go again, and this time it’s Harold Ford Jr., the Democratic contender for the Senate in Tennessee who is getting the red carpet media treatment. Ford is an attractive black “rising Democratic star,” whose only obstacle is Tennessee’s inability to get beyond its sordid racist past.
The East Coast media recently parachuted into Tennessee to explore if the state was still so backward as to elect yet another Republican. On its front page, The Washington Post began a story with John Layne, aging white Republican, who came to a Ford rally because he has emphysema and worries about health care. "Oh, sure, there's some prejudice," Layne said. "I wouldn't want my daughter marrying one." But apparently, he’ll vote for one if the government benefit checks are good.
The Times can't get enough of the RNC's ad mocking Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford Jr., running for Senate against Republican Bob Corker. The Sunday Week in Review featured a front-page "TV Watch" column by television-beat reporter Alessandra Stanley, "Scary, Like Funny Scary."
"The much-seen Tennessee ad against Harold Ford Jr. placed by the Republican National Committee in support of his opponent, Bob Corker, was seen as racist."
Newsweek's cover story this week about Rep. Harold Ford. Jr is illustrated in the Table of Contents by a dramatic black and white picture of Ford glancing heavenward in a church under the headline "Racing to the Center." The Ford cover story by Jonathan Darman, framed by an enormous photo of Ford's head taking up two glorious pages, began with 300 people coming out of the darkness to hear "Ford praise the Lord and lecture man" at a historic hotel, as people sang "Amazing Grace" and shouted Hallelujah. "'I love Jesus, I can't help it,' the congressman tells the crowd." On page 33, there's a half-page photo of Ford bowing his head and joining hands with staff in a prayer before a debate. Nowhere, in this 3,944-word story is any mention of this fervent Christian attending that 2005 Playboy-bunny party in Jacksonville on Super Bowl weekend.
Don't think it's because Newsweek was flat-footed and unaware. In the March 27, 2006 Newsweek, Darman related those nasty Republicans were going negative early:
Remember all the talk from the Democrats about not mixing religion and politics? Well, it is just talk. When it comes to blatantly mixing religion and politics for advancing themselves in campaigns, the Democrats are not at all shy about wearing religion on their sleeves. But will the media notice?
A case in point is Harold Ford, Jr. who recently filmed a campaign commercial for the U.S. Senate from Tennessee attacking his opponent, Bob Corker, from the interior of a church. As you can see in this video, Ford is not the least bit shy about using a church as a campaign ornament. Of course, if a Republican had tried to pull the same stunt the MSM would be shouting in outrage over this cynical mixture of religion and politics.