As noted here earlier, Joe Biden agreed with Ann Curry this morning that mentioning Obama's connections with Rev. Wright and William Ayers constituted an "ugly" tactic. Biden raised the stakes during his Early Show appearance, telling Harry Smith that daring to breathe Ayers's last name, or using Obama's middle one, is "mildly dangerous" and an "incitement."
Biden also managed work in the boast that he would be the go-to guy in an Obama administration.
You're an MSM anchor. For the last couple days, Obama spokesmen have been out there denying their candidate knew of William Ayers's terrorist past when Obama launched his political career in the Ayers living room. You now have the opportunity to interview Obama's VP running-mate. So naturally, you ask him to confirm or deny the campaign's assertion of Obama's ignorance, right?
Trick question. I did say "you're an MSM anchor." No, when Ann Curry had Joe Biden on Today this morning, she couldn't even bring herself to mention Ayers by name. Far from challenging Biden as to the truth of the campaign's denial, she teed up the notion that Sarah Palin is using "ugly" tactics by daring to raise the Obama-Ayers and Obama-Wright connections.
Deciding “Obama is two for two,” ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who last Friday called Joe Biden the winner over Sarah Palin, declared Barack Obama “definitely won” over John McCain in the second presidential debate, just as he had determined following the first one -- and that makes it three times out of three debates the Democratic operative turned ABC journalist has picked the liberal Democrat. In Tuesday's “Nightline Report Card,” Stephanopoulos trumpeted Obama's performance:
He definitely won tonight. I think, again, he showed over the course of this debate, over the course of the two debates, he is answering the number one question Americans have about him. Does he have the experience it takes to serve effectively as President? Over the course now of three hours of debates, he is answering that question minute by minute.
Issuing his grades, Stephanopoulos awarded Obama an A and two A-minuses while he presented McCain with one A-minus and two grades of B+. Stephanopoulos contended “where I really think Barack Obama won the debate tonight in strategy is on foreign policy. He took the debate to John McCain, took it to John McCain's judgment, jujitsued the line that John McCain used in the last debate about how Barack Obama doesn't understand foreign policy.”
Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales lamented a boring debate in Nashville, and tried to begin on a nonpartisan note that neither candidate "gave a particularly electrifying performance," but Shales eventually offered an electrically negative take on McCain's "snarled" and "mean old Scrooge" description of Obama as "that one," repeating the hypersensitivity of Jeff Greenfield at CBS:
During the debate, McCain made another of his seemingly demeaning, nasty references to Obama. Describing legislation that had been backed by President Bush, McCain rhetorically asked, "Guess who voted for it?" and then answered his own question: "That one," he said, gesturing toward Obama. On CBS, commentator Jeff Greenfield thought "that one" would be "the major headline sound bite" of the debate, which goes to show, in part, how insubstantial the debate was.
Matching the Obama campaign spin, the network reporters and analysts were upset by John McCain, at one moment in the second presidential debate on Tuesday night, referring to Barack Obama as “that one.” CBS's Jeff Greenfield asserted “there is going to be clearly a major headline soundbite” and insisted “those two words are going to be what the water cooler conversation is tomorrow. Was it demeaning? Was it an insult?” Katie Couric turned to a group of “undecided voters” for their reaction to the phrase. One man “thought it was a little bit childish” and another “undecided” man declared: “I'm really tired of the last eight years of for us or against us and to me that showed that side of McCain coming out and the picky and childish and we've had eight years of that.”
On CNN a little past 11 PM EDT, reporter Suzanne Malveaux compared it to Bill Clinton's characterization of Monica Lewinsky: “It's like 'that woman,' you know, that we've heard 'that woman,' I mean a lot of people are saying that was the kind of language that was very condescending.” A few minutes later, Democratic hack Paul Begala slimed Sarah Palin as a racist, citing the Associated Press and how “they said her attack on this whole Bill Ayers thing was 'racially-tinged.' That's not what a Democrat said, that's what the Associated Press said.” There's a difference? MSNBC viewers heard Chris Matthews pleased by Obama's “wonderful smile” before he charged McCain's smile “has a somewhat menacing quality.”
Audio: MP3 audio (1:25, 450 Kb) which matches the video above of CBS's "undecided" voters.
On his PBS talk show after the debate Tuesday night, Charlie Rose devoted most of the first 20 minutes of the show to top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. He claimed "We also invited a representative from the McCain campaign, but they were unable to do so this evening." Neither Rose nor the McCain campaign could find a person to match 20 minutes for Obama?
As for the pundits, New Yorker magazine editor (and former Washington Post reporter) David Remnick blasted Sarah Palin for going "negative in the lowest way possible," and said her slection "really is turning out to be a great misery." He said the race is turning strongly to Obama, "and deservedly so."
Remnick pulled no punches:
McCain began the debate in a sarcastic and frustrated mood. He used the phrase ‘he and his cronies,’ ‘that guy over there’ – you can tell there was a real antipathy there that lasted from beginning to end. Obama was collected. He was eloquent. He was clear. He was unfazed by attacks. He gave the message that he wouldn’t brook attacks that would go personal. So I think he won this debate in dramatic fashion.
Over video simply showing Barack Obama walking down the steps from his airplane, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric on Tuesday night juxtaposed how Obama “was given a police escort to his hotel,” as if that’s anything unusual for a presidential nominee under standard Secret Service protection, with how “in recent days, he's been under a non-stop verbal assault from Sarah Palin.” So the Governor of Alaska is a threat to Obama’s personal safety? Couric never explained why she decided to highlight the police escort when Obama and McCain, as well as Palin and Joe Biden, get them every day:
The economy will likely dominate tonight's presidential debate. John McCain arrived in Nashville last night while Barack Obama flew in earlier today and was given a police escort to his hotel. In recent days, he's been under a non-stop verbal assault from Sarah Palin. But are her criticisms accurate? Wyatt Andrews, now, with a Reality Check.
In his weekly column, New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt ludicrously argued that Barack Obama has gotten tougher coverage since January 2007 (when Obama entered the race) than John McCain:
By my count, The Times has published more tough articles on Obama, 20, than on McCain, 13, since the beginning of last year.
The Times has never filed any story targeting Obama that remotely approaches the mendacity of its February 21 hit piece alleging a McCain affair with a telecommunications lobbyist (Hoyt himself at the time said the Times was wrong to run the affair allegations). Also, Hoyt's narrow definition of bias helpfully eliminates stories with asides about McCain's temper, or constant mentions of McCain's "gaffes."
Barack Obama received a valuable campaign contribution from the New York Times on Saturday: a front-page piece reviewing Obama's lengthy association with the ’60s and ’70s Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. The Times' key sentence asserted: "The two men do not appear to have been close."
The Times' stamp of disapproval was all the rest of the media needed to reject the idea that Obama's dealings with Ayers should matter to voters, as Sarah Palin dared to suggest over the weekend. ABC's David Wright on Sunday called Palin's attack on Obama "incendiary," while CBS's Bob Schieffer (moderator of the final presidential debate on October 15) called it a "down and dirty" move, adding that Palin "took after Barack Obama in a style reminiscent of Spiro Agnew."
Fact-checking politicians seems to be the journalistic "in" thing to do this campaign season. Aside from the self-aggrandizing nature of such pronouncements, there isn't anything necessarily wrong with the concept.
The devil is in the details, however. Over at the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto notes that these esoteric fact check stories too often end up as opinion pieces criticizing the policies or rhetoric of politicians.
In more cases than not, it's Republicans who bear the brunt of such "corrections," simply because truth in politics is often a highly subjective thing. Taranto focuses on one particular fact check by USA Today criticizing a John McCain ad for quoting Barack Obama out of context:
MSNBC's David Shuster knows how to treat a lady right. Unless that lady is Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Last year we noted how he played a gotcha game with the Tennessee Republican over the death of a soldier he mistakenly thought was from her district. He subsequently apologized.
Today the MSNBC anchor put Blackburn on the spot by calling on her to defend the McCain campaign in light of inappropriate remarks made by random people attending their rallies:
DAVID SHUSTER: Congresswoman, as the tone gets nastier on both sides, I want to ask you about some things that were shouted to John McCain and Sarah Palin yesterday during their rallies. First, here's John McCain raising questions about Barack Obama yesterday in New Mexico.
Sen. JOHN McCAIN (R-Ariz.): In short, who is the real Barack Obama?
For the second time on Monday, ABC reporter David Wright continued to spin and justify Barack Obama's relationship with former terrorist bomber William Ayers. On the October 6 edition of "Nightline," he compared the McCain campaign's comments about the ex-domestic terrorist with the Obama team's new ads centering on the Arizona senator and the Keating 5 scandal. Wright (see file photo at right) wondered, "Which is worse, a radical terrorist who wanted to blow up the Pentagon 40 years ago or a crooked banker whose failed savings and loan had to be bailed out by the taxpayers 20 years ago?"
While discussing Ayers, a member of a violent '60s radical group that participated in 30 bombings, including the Pentagon, Wright made sure to point out: "Ayers was an early supporter of Obama's, but Obama has never condoned Ayers' politics." He even closed the segment by referring to the man, who said after 9/11 that he didn't do enough bombings, as "A former domestic terrorist who's now a respected professor." When discussing the Keating 5 savings and loan scandal, in which five senators were accused of intervening on behalf of businessman Charles Keating, Wright left out the fact that McCain was exonerated by the Senate Ethics Committee.
On Tuesday, an Associated Press article featured on MSNBC.com and briefly as a top headline on the popular internet homepage MSN.com was titled: "McCain linked to group in Iran-Contra case." The subtitle read: "Organization had ties to former Nazi collaborators, right-wing death squads." The article attacked a group founded by retired U.S. General John Singlaub: "The U.S. Council for World Freedom was part of an international organization linked to former Nazi collaborators and ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America. The group was dedicated to stamping out communism around the globe."
The AP appears to be getting its story tips from the Obama campaign, as Boston Globe deputy national political editor, Foon Rhee, reported: "The Obama camp today is sending around reports on Singlaub, founder of the US Council for World Freedom, which was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal during the mid-1980s and was criticized for supposed links to Nazi collaborators and right-wing death squads in Central America." The AP article justified reporting on the tenuous McCain connection by explaining: "McCain's ties are facing renewed scrutiny after his campaign criticized Barack Obama for his link to a former radical who engaged in violent acts 40 years ago."
During a report on Monday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program, CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin presented many of the missing details about the relationship between Barack Obama and left-wing terrorist William Ayers that two earlier "Truth Squad" reports on the network on Sunday and Monday omitted. Griffin stated that despite the spin of the Obama campaign and their mainstream media supporters, "...the relationship between Obama and Ayers went much deeper, ran much longer, and was much more political than Obama said."
Host Anderson Cooper introduced Griffin’s report, which began 19 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour, as one of the CNN program’s "Keeping Them Honest" features. Oddly, a on-screen graphic that read "The Dow Plunges," which had nothing to do with the subject of the segment, ran during its entirety. The correspondent began by repeating Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn’s background in the Weather Underground, "an anti-Vietnam War group that bombed federal buildings, including the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon." He then gave Obama’s early characterization of his relationship with the 1960's radical, that the Democrat "confirmed... that he knew Ayers, and, when pressed, said they served on a charitable foundation board together, and Obama condemned Ayers' support of violence."
What may possibly be a peek into why the mainstream media has been less than enthusiastic in investigating Barack Obama’s background and associations, Barbara Walters, on the October 7 "View," called on all to "stop slinging mud around" with Obama’s ties and also John McCain’s past ties to Charles Keating. A noticeably distressed Elisabeth Hasselbeck, possibly out of exhaustion from taking on three or four opposing voices on her own every day, exclaimed that past judgment is important and raised concern that "he says he didn’t know these people."
When Elisabeth labeled Reverend Wright a "hatemonger," Whoopi scolded Elisabeth stating "you need to stop saying he’s a hatemonger." Following Whoopi’s line, Sherri Shepherd shouted to Elisabeth’s face about some of John McCain’s past infidelities.
At the end of the segment after Barbara Walters continually harped on the lack of focus on the economy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck placed the blame on much of the financial crisis on Democrats, notably Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. Joy Behar dismissed such a concern to "listening to Sean Hannity too much." Or maybe Elisabeth was listening to Alec Baldwin.
With Virginia as a battleground state in the 2008 election and given Democrat Barack Obama's damaging gaffe earlier this year about rural voters clinging "to guns or religion", a new gaffe by another Democrat should be worthy of media attention. It remains to be seen if the mainstream media will even notice. (h/t Reformed Chicks Blabbing)
Running to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Republican John Warner, former Gov. Mark Warner (no relation) has a healthy lead in recent polls and the admiration of a pliant media. Yet an audio recording of Warner at a Democratic Party gathering caught the candidate disparaging gun owners, home schoolers, and religious conservatives as "threatening to what it means to be an American."
Republican opponent and former Gov. Jim Gilmore has a campaign ad (embedded below the fold) that features the audio:
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor condemned the McCain campaign for "blasting" Barack Obama and playing a "guilt-by-association game" by discussing Obama’s connection to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Glor proclaimed: "Using a new ad to pile on adjectives, 'dangerous,' 'dishonorable,' 'liberal,' and 'risky.' And using running mate Sarah Palin to name names, trying to link Obama with controversial characters like the once radical anti-war advocate William Ayers and fiery pastor Jeremiah Wright."
While Glor referred to Ayers being "once radical," in a 2001 New York Times article, Ayers expressed no remorse for his 1970's terrorist activities, saying: "I don't regret setting bombs...I feel we didn't do enough." In addition, in October of 2006, Ayers did an interview with the Communist publication ‘Revolution’ and defended left-wing radical Ward Churchill who referred to victims of September 11th as Nazis: "He’s being pilloried for his politics, for being a leftist, for being a critic of U.S. imperialism as it relates to Native Americans. How can we as socialists or as communists or as leftists, how can we leave him in the cold and say, well I’m a good leftist because I don’t talk the way Ward talks. I find that appalling. And I would hope that when they come to get Ward, we all link arms and don’t allow it."
Washington Post reporter/columnist Dana Milbank started a fire on page A3 today by claiming Sarah Palin was coming "unhinged" by linking Barack Obama to Bill Ayers and "her attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness," with the pro-Palin crowd yelling racist epithets and Death to Ayers. The headline was "Unleashed, Palin Makes a Pit Bull Look Tame." He proclaimed:
Well, the self-identified pit bull has been unleashed -- if not unhinged.
Barack Obama, she told 8,000 fans at a rally here Monday afternoon, "launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist!"
Milbank made no attempt to suggest this link was false -- except for the "unhinged" word. He did not disprove that Obama attended an event at the house of Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn, both Weather Undeground bombers. But "worse" than that were attacks on the media. Milbank omitted the self-deprecating humor, and went for the negative attack:
Update | Hail Halperin: See incredible video at foot. Pressed by Mark Halperin, Robert Gibbs admits Obama continued to associate with Ayers after learning his past.
H/t Melody N. An Obama spokesman adamantly insists that in 1995 Barack Obama was the most clueless man in Chicago. Andrea Mitchell thinks talk of Barack Obama's ties to an unrepentant terrorist is a "distraction." Rudy Giuliani doesn't. Mitchell is happy to take the New York Times's word for the fact that Obama and William Ayers weren't close. Rudy, not so much.
After the former NYC mayor made the case on today's Morning Joe as to why Ayers matters, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs came on, called Giuliani a liar, and flatly denied that—when beginning his political career in his living room—Obama knew Ayers was a terrorist.
Consider the cases of Obama donors "Doodad Pro" of Nunda, N.Y., who gave $17,130, and "Good Will" of Austin, Texas, who gave more than $11,000 – both in excess of the $2,300-per-person federal limit. In two recent letters to the Obama campaign, Federal Election Commission auditors flagged those (and other) donors and informed the campaign that the sums had to be returned. Neither name had ever been publicly reported because both individuals made online donations in $10 and $25 increments. "Good Will" listed his employer as "Loving" and his occupation as "You," while supplying as his address 1015 Norwood Park Boulevard, which is shared by the Austin nonprofit Goodwill Industries.
But the fairly chummy interview broke down when Ingraham started asking questions about why the Federal Election Commission would drag its feet on Obama for fear of looking "political." (Isn’t foot-dragging also a way of looking political?) Isikoff said the FEC will probably have no choice but to look into Newsweek’s findings, but may put off a broader probe.
TMZ.com has posted video of a friendly impromptu interview with Katie Couric on the streets of New York, where Couric suggested her interview with Sarah Palin was really fair and that Palin had lied like everyone else when she says she reads the British news mag The Economist. The TMZ man asked Couric how she felt about Palin complaining about her: "I feel we did a really fair job and gave her a lot of opportunities."
He then asked "What magazines and newspapers do you read?" Couric gave a political answer: "All of them and any of them." The interviewer said: "Can you name one?" She kept smiling and said, "Of course, everyone lies about The Economist, but I actually read it. And I read a lot of magazines and newspapers. Luckily, I’m not running for vice president."
That's either a slap at Palin, or Katie trying to suggest humbly that she would be a terrible veep nominee. Why would Couric try to be a number two, when she's so consistently been number three out of three in the ratings?
The "what do you read" question to Palin was designed as a "gotcha" question to underline Palin's lack of worldly sophistication (hence the jokes about Palin lying about reading The Economist.)
One of the top stories on Yahoo! news this morning is an Associated Press report on anti-Obama author Jerome Corsi being held in Kenya over his immigration papers. Reporter Tom Odula makes sure he sticks this Obama campaign language in, complete with a website plug:
Corsi's book claims the Illinois senator is a dangerous, radical candidate for president and includes innuendoes and false rumors — that he was raised a Muslim, attended a radical, black church and is secretly seething with "black rage."
Obama is a Christian who attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and his campaign picks apart the book's claims on the Obama campaign's rumor-fighting Web site, FightTheSmears.com.
So the AP accurately reports that Obama attended Reverend Wright's church, but it's placed on a list of "false rumors" or "innuendoes" that it was radical? (Is there any doubt that Wright was seething with black rage?) Obama's not a "radical," despite his history of working relationships in Chicago with people whose idea of idealism was bombing U.S. government buildings.
ABC on Monday night focused its ire at John McCain, for making the campaign “increasingly nasty and bitter” by unleashing a “blistering barrage on Obama,” while CBS’s Jeff Greenfield suggested McCain “may” have decided to “campaign ugly” because “negative campaigns tend to depress turnout” and thus hurt Barack Obama since he’s attracting the new voters. Gibson’s loaded set-up:
We turn to presidential politics and what is becoming an increasingly nasty and bitter contest. On the eve of the second presidential debate, the McCain campaign has unleashed a blistering barrage on Obama, attacking him not only for what he says, but for who he is and who he knows.
Reporter Ron Claiborne proceeded to describe a McCain speech as “by far McCain's fiercest, most sustained, harshest attack on Barack Obama of the entire campaign” which included “even questioning Obama's honesty.” After noting the “new offensive includes running mate Sarah Palin accusing Obama of associating with Bill Ayers,” Claiborne was less condemnatory of Obama, describing “a slick 13-minute Web video about the Keating Five banking scandal.”
On Monday’s The Situation Room, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer interrupted a back-and-forth discussion on the presidential campaign between Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and CNS News editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey for a live video feed of rock musician Bruce Springsteen at a Barack Obama campaign rally in Michigan: "I want both of you to stand by because Bruce Springsteen is singing right now at a Barack Obama rally in Michigan, and I can't help but want to listen a little bit. Listen to ‘The Boss.’" Just before this mid-conversation interruption, Jeffrey made a point about how "there's a lot of people in this country who believe the media wants Obama to be elected president, and part of doing that is tearing down Sarah Palin." It’s kind of funny that Blitzer helped Jeffrey prove the first part of his point only seconds after he made it [see video at right].
Earlier in the discussion, at about 50 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, Blitzer brought up new CNN poll numbers that indicated that the number of people who think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president has dropped since early September 2008. He asked Jeffrey, "Why has it gone down?" Jeffrey then made his first point about the media bias: "I think since Sarah Palin has been nominated, she's taken quite a beating from the liberal press." He then described how he thought those poll numbers didn’t matter, and that "quite frankly, I think if she was at the top of the ticket, they would be doing better."
In a segment headlined, "The Politics of Distraction," Chris Matthews, on Monday night's "Hardball," dismissed the McCain/Palin campaign's linking of Bill Ayers to Barack Obama. Matthews conjured a scenario where the GOP was trying to use Obama's tie to Ayers, his middle name of "Hussein," and his donor list to turn Obama into "a man of dangerous mystery."
I see an attempt, over the last seven days, to tie three points together in the thinking of older voters, especially, so that they can have a mystery about Barack Obama they hadn't had last week. One, this question of Bill Ayers, the Weathermen, back 10 years or so in Chicago politics or Chicago organizing politics. Two, his middle name Hussein. And three, the question of who his donor list includes? I think they're putting this together by demanding that donor list. They're trying to build the case that he's a man of mystery. That, not that he's a street corner guy from the ghetto but that he's somehow maybe connected to terrorism because of this past association with a terrorist. With his middle name being Hussein, which I predicted last week, everybody it's, everybody I talked to, it was coming out. And third this donor list game. They are trying to make him a man of dangerous mystery because they can't beat him on the standard issues of this election.
Between 6 a.m. and 12 noon on Monday, MSNBC featured six segments which replayed bits from Tina Fey's Saturday Night Live parody of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's performance in Thursday's debate. The SNL parody of Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden was only played twice, and both times were during Morning Joe.
This continues a trend that was also seen last Monday morning when MSNBC replayed Tina Fey's parody of Palin's interview with Katie Couric seven times while avoiding Saturday Night Live's parody of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Along with the free airtime given to Fey's impersonation of Palin came some commentary by the various hosts of both Morning Joe and MSNBC News Live. First, Willie Geist commented that, "Sometimes you watch [Tina Fey] and forget what Sarah Palin actually looks like. She's so dead on."
CNN’s so-called Truth Squad, in two reports on Sunday and Monday by two different correspondents, labeled Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin "false" for stating that Barack Obama "sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country." The Squad, in their "fact-checking" of the Alaska governor, who was making a reference to left-wing terrorist William Ayers, obfuscated Obama’s past connections to the former leader of the Weather Underground. The Squad’s reports, which aired on CNN’s Sunday Morning program and on Monday’s American Morning, also left out key details about the Democratic presidential candidate’s past with Ayers.
The network first made an attempt at "fact-checking" Palin’s statement, which she made at a campaign rally in Carson, California, near the beginning of the 7 am hour of their Sunday Morning program. Anchor T.J. Holmes, after a report by Don Lemon on the Alaska governor’s claim, gave a brief look at the Obama/Ayers connection. "Well, nobody's exactly sure how well Bill Ayers and Barack Obama know each other. The New York Times, CNN, other news organizations have looked into this, found that they apparently did not have a very close relationship, it appears." Well, that’s about as clear as Mississippi River mud, and one might guess that Holmes was asking his audience to take the word of two liberal media outlets.
With the McCain campaign’s new offensive on Barack Obama and his ties with William Ayers, "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg, on the October 6 edition, suggested McCain is playing this card out of desperation and using the same failed tactics of Hillary Clinton.
Discussing Ayers, Whoopi "assume[d] that he rehabilitated himself." When Elisabeth Hasselbeck, outnumbered three to one, reminded that panel that Ayers expressed regret in 2001 that he had not done more, Sherri Shepherd wagged her finger in Elisabeth’s face lecturing "no you don’t Elisabeth." Shepherd retorted that Ayers’ remarks were not about September 11, something already known, but do they make Ayers’ lack of remorse any more defensible?
Barbara Walters, for her part, called such campaign tactics "smears" even as Elisabeth asserted that they are not smears, but true. Walters, also added that attacks on McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five scandal was a smear as well and such attacks distract us for the many challenges the United States faces.
At the top of the CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith described how the McCain campaign was criticizing Barack Obama for his connection to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, but avoided any such label: "...dredging up of a character that Barack Obama knows from Chicago named Bill Ayers, who was one of the founders of the Weather Underground. So it's really getting crazy..." Smith offered no explanation of the terrorist activity launched by Weather Underground. In a later segment, correspondent Chip Reid also avoided the terrorist label, but did describe the activity of the organization: "William Ayers, a former radical who participated in a domestic bombing campaign during the Vietnam War."
At the same time that Smith and Reid worked to downplay Ayers’s terrorist activity and connection to Obama, they also bashed the McCain campaign for daring to even mention such a connection. Smith began the show by declaring: "It's getting ugly. Less than a month to go and the campaigns are turning negative in the race for the White House... Desperate measures or smart strategy?...And the campaign is getting nasty to say the least." In his report, Reid blamed the ugliness and nastiness on the McCain campaign: "But with a flurry of new negative ads and attacks, it's clear the gloves are now completely off. John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, is leading the charge...With the campaign's new bare knuckle strategy, attacking Barack Obama's character..."
"Does Palin have explaining to do," Chicago Tribune religion blogger Manya Brachear asked in her post-vice presidential debate blog post. Here's how Brachear opened her October 3 entry at her "The Seeker" blog:
Pentecostals have called on the mainstream media to stop mocking their sister Sarah Palin. But when will the Republican vice-presidential candidate answer the questions that swirl every time a new church video surfaces on YouTube? Was Thursday's prime time debate yet another missed opportunity?
By contrast, a review of Brachear's blog entries dealing with Sen. Obama's controversial former pastor,Rev. Jeremiah Wright, show Brachear did not have similar concerns with Obama's relationship with Wright. Indeed, back in June, Brachear asked, "Can a candidate worship in peace?" The Trib staffer was referring to the fact that Obama was leaving Trinity United Church of Christ, blaming media scrutiny for ruining the worship experience for himself and his fellow parishioners: