WaPo TV Critic Suggests Obama-Ayers Friendship is Fictional

In his Thursday morning debate review, Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales demonstrated he seems to think that any friendship or relationship between Obama and bomber Bill Ayers is purely fictional: "McCain brought up tired old charges against Obama of being pals with '60s radical William Ayers even though those claims have been shot down time and time again by the Obama campaign." He didn’t tell the reader that Schieffer urged on the subject, and McCain had to be dragged to the subject of Ayers.Speaking of the possibly fictional, Shales laid into violence-prone Republican rally audiences, and then turned it into another example of McCain's alleged anger management problems:

Without mentioning GOP vice presidential candidate and famous Alaskan hockey mom Sarah Palin by name, Obama referred to McCain's "running mate" and the raucous rallies at which she has spoken, with Obama looking askance at rally rowdies who shouted out "terrorist" when Obama's name was mentioned and even the unnerving and obscene "Kill him!" McCain got huffy, as he does with barely a moment's notice, and said he was "proud of the people who come to our rallies."

Shales quoted with and agreed with CNN's Paul Begala claiming McCain looked like "Grumpy McNasty," and he found it amusing that McCain would mock Obama's eloquence and suggested it was unprecedented, when he clearly knows that the Democrats repeatedly unloaded that charge on Ronald Reagan:

McCain may deserve kudos for cheekiest trick of the campaign when he twice tried to ridicule Obama for being eloquent. This seemed a new tactic: cast doubt on a candidate who seems suspiciously articulate, as if misusing words, fracturing syntax and bumbling through sentences were signs of honor. If that were the case, George W. Bush would be revered instead of lampooned nightly on the David Letterman show (where McCain is scheduled to make a notoriously delayed appearance tonight).

Shales gave McCain some credit -- for forcefully stating that if Obama wanted to run against Bush, he should have done it in 2004:

It took weeks, months, but McCain and his people finally came up with a snappy and succinct way to distance the Republican candidate from the hugely, wildly, almost incomparably unpopular Bush and to undercut Obama's frequently repeated reference to "eight years of failed policies" that Obama says Bush propagated and McCain will continue.

Shales should feel lucky that there are no job-approval polls about smarmy TV critics.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis