Convention Watch

By Matthew Balan | September 4, 2008 | 2:00 AM EDT

Minutes after Republican vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin finished her speech on Wednesday night, CNN’s Roland Martin and Jeffrey Toobin went on the offensive against the Alaska governor. Co-host Anderson Cooper first asked Martin for his reaction. He first stated that "she gave a solid speech" and then focused on Palin’s dig at Barack Obama being a community organizer in Chicago: "...[S]he mocked community organizers, and this audience laughed at them. Don't be surprised if Obama and Biden says, you know what, it's community organizers who are keeping people from losing their homes in [the] subprime crisis.... It's community organizers who are the ones trying to save your job. They're going to say the GOP does not give a flip about community organizers -- it means they don't care about you...."

Two minutes later, co-host Wolf Blitzer went to Toobin for his reaction. The senior legal analyst for CNN first complimented Palin: "Well, let's just start with an obvious point that I don't think anyone has made yet. This speech was a heck of a lot better than Joe Biden's speech. I mean, it just was much more dramatic, much more interesting, much more entertaining." He then continued with a more blunt analysis of the speech: "But it was also, I thought, very smug, very sarcastic, very cutting. And you know what? The Republicans had been trying to portray her as a victim for the last couple days. Well, she's not going to be a victim anymore. She's going to be a target..." As if she hasn’t been a target since John McCain announced her as his running mate?

Click here for mp3 audio.

By Tim Graham | September 3, 2008 | 11:52 PM EDT

New York Times columnist David Brooks is supposed to be the house conservative of PBS’s NewsHour and convention coverage, but he dripped contempt for conservatives from Mitt Romney to Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday’s night live coverage. He decried Romney’s speech as extreme "He drifted so far right, I’m sort of, my mind is boggling." But he said the rhetoric wasn’t genuine, just a "strategic choice" in case McCain loses.

By Matthew Balan | September 3, 2008 | 10:28 PM EDT

Erin Kotecki Vest, Blogger; Soledad O'Brien, CNN Anchor; and Rachel Campos-Duffy, BloggerCNN anchor Soledad O’Brien disavowed any knowledge of a bias on her network against Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, particularly concerning the issue of her five children, during a segment on Wednesday’s Newsroom program. She moderated a segment with two bloggers, a conservative and a liberal, both of them mothers. When the conservative, Rachel Campos-Duffy of "The Real World: San Francisco" fame, stated how "journalists even on this network say things like, you know, can she really -- is she up to be vice president because she has five kids," O’Brien replied, "I have not heard one journalist who works for CNN, if that's what you're talking about, say that at all. We've interviewed people who said that and ask some similar questions about, isn't that sexist? So I'm not sure exactly who you're referring to."

By Brad Wilmouth | September 3, 2008 | 9:32 PM EDT

During FNC’s Republican Convention live coverage, former Dukakis campaign manager and liberal FNC analyst Susan Estrich voiced her disapproval of the "vicious and mean-spirited attacks" on Sarah Palin by the media as she appeared late Tuesday/early Wednesday night with anchor Greta van Susteren. Estrich: "I’ve never seen anything this bad in my life ... I was with Geraldine Ferraro in ‘84 – and this is worse. ...

By Mark Finkelstein | September 3, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT
Be grateful for small things.  Ann Curry didn't call Bristol Palin's baby "illegitimate" or a "bastard."  She settled for "out-of-wedlock."  Now in fairness, NBC's Curry was in theory listing things for which people might feel sympathy for Sarah Palin, including her own Down syndrome child.

But in doing so, speaking with Keith Olbermann during MSNBC's RNC coverage this evening, Curry said the following.
ANN CURRY: She has a child who is having a child out of wedlock.

View video here.

By Brent Baker | September 3, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT
Reflecting the media's continued disdain for the pro-life position, interviewing Cindy McCain for Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Katie Couric painted Sarah Palin as an extremist, zeroing in how “even Republicans” supposedly, “seemed surprised that Senator McCain picked a running mate who opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest.” Couric then turned the session into an interrogation about Mrs. McCain's personal views on abortion:
Where do you stand on abortion?

So, do you oppose it even in the cases of rape and incest?

Do you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned?

Why not? Your husband does.

So you do believe it should be overturned or shouldn't be?
By NB Staff | September 3, 2008 | 7:32 PM EDT

ST. PAUL, Minn.-- Former United Nations ambassador John Bolton came down strongly Wednesday on how the press have treated Sarah Palin since she was announced as John McCain's running mate last Friday:

I think some of the coverage of Governor Palin has been vile. Period.

Talking to NewsBusters at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, Bolton said (video embedded right):

By Matthew Balan | September 3, 2008 | 7:24 PM EDT

Less than two hours after Peggy Noonan and former McCain advisor Mike Murphy appeared on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon, a YouTube video appeared of their candid exchange in which they dismissed Sarah Palin’s viability as a VP pick. The speed at which the video appeared indicated that it almost certainly originated from someone inside MSNBC, another favor for the Democrats this election year.

Joshua Micah Marshall’s blog Talking Points Memo and the blog of Michael Calderone of the Politico broke news of Noonan and Murphy’s comments. The exchange started as MSNBC Chuck Todd previewed what was coming up next on the program before a commercial break 20 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour, as Noonan and Murphy began a discussion off-camera, picked up by a hot mike. Todd then joined the discussion once the commercial break began. None of their discussion actually made it on the air for this reason.

By Kyle Drennen | September 3, 2008 | 7:06 PM EDT

Appearing on Wednesday’s America’s Election HQ on FNC, the senior editor of US Weekly, Bradley Jacobs, defended the magazines recent cover, which showed a picture of Sarah Palin and the headline ‘Babies, Lies and Scandal,’ by explaining that: "Actually, the lies that we point out are some of the liberal bloggers who were speculating that the daughter was actually -- had given birth, that there was a coverup there. We're one of the few magazines that actually did call to task those liberal bloggers for the news stories over the weekend."

A skeptical Megyn Kelly responded to that claim by asking: "Bradley, do you think the cover in any way suggests to the viewer who's looking at your magazine while standing there in the grocery store that the lies are lies about Sarah Palin, by her attackers?" Jacobs replied: "I don't think we can talk about all that here. It is -- we've gotten a lot of press today, but a lot of people haven't read this story. You may disagree but it is a fairly...It's a very balanced story. We interview strategists on both sides."

By Scott Whitlock | September 3, 2008 | 5:11 PM EDT

Amy Robach, Less than an hour after reporter David Gregory incorrectly huffed on Wednesday's "Today" show that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin can balance motherhood with serving as vice president, NBC correspondent Amy Robach explicitly did just that during a segment on how moms were reacting to the Alaska governor. Operating under a loaded either/or premise, she derided, "The broader question if Sarah Palin becomes vice president, will she be shortchanging her kids or will she be shortchanging the country?"

Labeling the segment "the mommy wars," Robach, a former beauty pageant contestant, went on point out that Palin is running despite having an infant child with Down's Syndrome and a pregnant 17-year-old daughter. She asserted that "the news has sparked both pride and condemnation." Robach also featured New York Times writer Jodi Kantor, who authored a piece on the subject in the September 2 edition of the paper. In a clip, Kantor discussed the fact that Palin went back to work only a few days after giving birth this past April. According to the journalist, "fellow mothers" found this "a little bit hard to fathom, a little bit hard to identify with."

By Justin McCarthy | September 3, 2008 | 3:07 PM EDT

Republicans really hold racist double standards when it involves teenage pregnancies and marriages. This according to Joy Behar, who shared such a sentiment on the September 3 edition of "The View." Discussing the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, Behar expressed sympathy for the father and fiancé, Levi Johnston.

Behar exclaimed it’s "the end of his life" because "he’s married at 17" (Johnston is actually 18, which is the legal difference between a child and an adult) When Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked "why isn’t that the beginning of another [life]?" Joy Behar, implying Republicans are racist, rebutted "if this was a black teenage couple, you wouldn’t be saying it so easily. Not you, but the Republican party would be all over that." Behar subsequently added "they’re white, they’re Christian. Everybody loves them on the right wing."

By Rich Noyes | September 3, 2008 | 1:42 PM EDT
Unlike the celebratory response to the opening nights of the Democratic convention a week ago, the three network morning shows offered restrained recaps of Tuesday night’s speeches at the Republican convention, and continued to portray Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a liability for the GOP ticket.

On Wednesday’s Today, NBC’s David Gregory had the GOP taking “swipes at Senator Obama’s limited experience” and described Fred Thompson’s speech as a “hard-edged attack on Senator Obama.”

But a week earlier, Gregory described Hillary Clinton’s speech as “rousing” and “playful,” and offered no negative adjectives as he replayed soundbites of Clinton attacking John McCain: