Campaign Watch

By Brent Baker | October 31, 2008 | 9:22 PM EDT
Just as he did in two earlier interviews with Barack Obama when he held up magazine covers and asked Obama to glow in the moment, in an excerpt from this week's session with Obama aired on Friday's NBC Nightly News, Williams cued up Obama with another visual image -- this time holding up a photograph of Obama in sandals in Honolulu when he went for a walk after visiting his dying grandmother -- to empathize: “The human in you, and the husband and father and grandson must want to just bust out sometimes, or disappear, if you can't go for a walk like that?” Back in January, Williams held up a Newsweek with Obama on the cover and wondered: “How does this feel?” In May, he held up a Time magazine cover with Obama's picture and presented it to him: “Have you yet held this in your hands?”

Showing Obama the picture of him walking in a Honolulu neighborhood, Williams pondered: 
I want to ask you about -- it's a press-related question. This picture was so striking to me. And according to the press pool traveling with you, you asked to just take a walk and be alone. You're visiting your grandmother. What may, by all accounts be the last time you see her. How do you react to this, I guess it's part of the contract you make when you run in such an extended campaign, but, the human in you, and the husband and father and grandson must want to just bust out sometimes, or disappear, if you can't go for a walk like that?
By Matthew Balan | October 31, 2008 | 9:13 PM EDT

Carol Costello, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgOn Friday’s American Morning program, CNN correspondent Carol Costello referred to the liberal organization ACORN as merely "a group committed to registering minority voters," and highlighted how it’s "trying to quiet what it calls ‘hysteria,’ coming from conservative circles" who "charge it’s... guilty of voter fraud." The on-screen graphic accompanying her report, which was the last full segment during the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, exclaimed that "ACORN Fight Back: Says Conservatives Creating ‘Hysteria.’"

Despite playing two clips from Republican presidential candidate John McCain and conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who both criticized ACORN, Costello played three clips from two individuals who sympathized with the organization. The first two clips came from former U.S. attorney David Iglesias, who was one of eight U.S. attorneys who were controversially fired by the Justice Department in 2006. He compared the GOP’s focus on the liberal group to the "Red Scare of the 1950s." During the third clip, Michael Waldman, a former speechwriter for President Clinton who now directs the Brennan Center at NYU’s School of Law, emphasized that "voters should know is that when someone registers under a fake name, that doesn’t mean they can vote under a fake name." Costello identified Waldman as merely as an "elections expert," and repeated his talking point twice at the end of her report.

By Clay Waters | October 31, 2008 | 5:26 PM EDT

Heard anything about Barack Obama's sleazy online fundraising, where thanks to purposely lax security measures his site is able to receive untraceable donations from obviously fake names? Not if you've been reading the print edition of the New York Times. The Washington Post has run two stories, most recently on Wednesday: "Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations: Contributions Reviewed After Deposits." Post reporter Matthew Mosk explained how the Obama campaign isn't taking the most basic steps to ensure the validity of the online donations made to the campaign:

Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.

Those two Post stories mark a Woodward-and-Bernstein level of intensity compared to the Times's treatment. A search indicates that the Times has published zero stories in its newspaper on recent revelations concerning the Obama campaign's avoidance of basic security measures to stop illegal contributions.

By Brad Wilmouth | October 31, 2008 | 4:49 PM EDT

On Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, New York Times columnist Frank Rich charged that it looks "morally bad" and "idiotic" that Republicans have not elected a black candidate to federal office in six years. The Republican party also seemed to remind Rich of South Africa’s racist Apartheid policy of the past: "The fact is, this isn`t South Africa 25 years ago, this is a major political party that is essentially all white. And the hierarchy of it is definitely white. There hasn`t been a new black Republican elected to federal office, I think, in six years.

By Scott Whitlock | October 31, 2008 | 3:06 PM EDT

Liberal ABC reporter David Wright derided Joe Wurzelbacher (AKA "Joe the Plumber") as John McCain's "campaign mascot" during Friday's edition of "Good Morning America." Wright, who has developed quite a track record in the 2008 campaign of boosting Barack Obama and bashing Senator McCain, also sneeringly compared Wurzelbacher's appearance with the Republican to Obama's Ohio campaign rally featuring Bill Clinton.

He sniffed, "Barack Obama turned to a celebrity with a bit more history and stature. Former President Bill Clinton hit the stump for Obama right here in Ohio." On the October 23 "Nightline," Wright attacked the "angry rant" McCain delivered during a speech on taxes. During the October 22 GMA, he insisted that Governor Sarah Palin's attacks on Senator Joe Biden might not be that valid because the vice presidential contender lives in a "glass house."

By Tim Graham | October 31, 2008 | 1:26 PM EDT

Newsweek editor Jon Meacham brought his professorial tones to National Public Radio on Wednesday and Thursday’s Morning Edition, discussing the Obama and McCain memoirs and what they say about the candidates. The oddest moment came in Wednesday’s chat on Obama, when NPR anchor Steve Inskeep raised Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear, by which FDR meant global arms reductions. Inskeep explained "Obama seems to suggest that while they are all important, that freedom from want and freedom from fear are the things that have to come first."

Meacham agreed that these liberal conceptions of freedoms are more important, but stressing them is a "very conservative" argument coming from Obama: "Yes. If you are hungry, you're not that interested in freedom of the press. If you are impoverished, you are interested in keeping yourself warm against the cold, and it's harder to think in Jeffersonian rights-of-man terms. Once those first two freedoms are secured, the others tend to follow. It's a very conservative argument that without order, nothing else is possible."

By Kyle Drennen | October 31, 2008 | 1:10 PM EDT

Poll Numbers, CBS At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows Barack Obama maintains a double digit lead over John McCain, he's now ahead by 11 points, 52% to 41%." However, the current Real Clear Politics average of polls, which includes the CBS/New York Times poll, only gives Obama a 6-point advantage. That is because all other polls range from Obama being up three to being up eight, the CBS/NYT poll is clearly the outlier.

In a report that followed, correspondent Jeff Glor looked at poll numbers on the economy: "A new CBS News/New York Times poll asked if the candidates would raise taxes on people like you. 50% said Obama would, 46% said McCain would. But when asked which candidate will make the economy better, 54% said Obama, 32%, McCain." In contrast to that 22-point gap, a recent Rasmussen poll shows that 48% of voters trust McCain more on the economy, while 47% trust Obama more. In addition, Rasmussen gives Obama only a 4-point lead nationally. Given such great disparity in the results and the fact that most other polls show the race tightening, one wonders about the credibility of the CBS/New York Times poll.

By Lyndsi Thomas | October 31, 2008 | 12:16 PM EDT

Griff Jenkins from Fox & Friends l"Fox & Friends" on Friday replayed the videotape of Griff Jenkins chasing down Rashid Khalidi, which was originally aired on Thursday's "Hannity & Colmes." Unsurprisingly, Khalidi was not willing to talk with the Fox News reporter.

By Scott Whitlock | October 31, 2008 | 11:43 AM EDT

"Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman on Friday asked the author of a new biography on Michelle Obama how the candidate's wife deals with her husband being "lusted after by all of these women out there" on the campaign trail. While talking to "Michelle" author Liz Mundy, Shipman cooed, "And, of course, it's wonderful, but not always easy when your husband becomes a political rock star overnight."

As though the ABC correspondent were reading from a press release, she opened the segment by fawning: "And over the years, Michelle Obama in her personal journey has achieved a remarkable feat. She's carved a role for herself a path that both embraces and transcends race." Later, Shipman insisted, "An incredible journey that even more than her husband's is emblematic of the country's racial transformation." At no point, did Shipman, who once rhapsodized about the "fluid poetry" of the presidential candidate, discuss any of Michelle Obama's gaffes during the 2008 campaign, such as her famous comment in February that "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."

By Noel Sheppard | October 31, 2008 | 11:32 AM EDT

The media's abysmal coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign has been the equivalent of a mass press suicide that has signaled the end of journalism.

So wrote National Review contributor and Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson Friday in a scathing rebuke of all those so-called impartial journalists who sacrificed their souls and whatever was left of their integrity this year to assist Barack Obama win the White House.

Here are some of Hanson's key points (emphasis added):

By Brent Baker | October 31, 2008 | 1:43 AM EDT
At least on the CBS Evening News. On Thursday's newscast, reporter Chip Reid explained that John McCain campaigned in northern Ohio towns Reid described as “conservative areas” while CBS colleague Dean Reynolds, with Barack Obama in Sarasota, Florida, marveled at how he's “not just concentrating on Republican states now. He's stumping in their most conservative strongholds.”
By Matthew Balan | October 30, 2008 | 10:45 PM EDT

CNN anchor Kiran Chetry referred to John McCain’s warning of Democratic Party rule in both the White House and the Congress if Barack Obama is elected president as "scare tactics" during a preview of a report on Thursday’s American Morning: "Five more days -- the scare tactics continue. Should you be afraid of one party rule?" A clip of McCain naming Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a possible "dangerous threesome" played after Chetry’s line.

During the actual report, correspondent Jim Acosta highlighted such "scare tactics" from both presidential candidates. First, he described how McCain "is telling voters to be afraid, very afraid of Democratic dominance in Washington." He later stated how Obama "has his own boogieman, as in the man who has controlled the White House for the last eight years," meaning President Bush. Note that while Acosta gave examples of both candidates playing the so-called fear card, Chetry’s preview only referred specifically to McCain.