It’s been four years since Barack Obama beat John McCain to become the 44th President of the United States, but that hasn’t stopped some in the media from putting McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, in the crosshairs. In this morning’s broadcast of Good Morning America, ABC News’ David Muir detailed the dynamics related to the home stretch of the presidential campaign. It was here that he snuck in a gratuitous swipe at Gov. Palin:
On Tuesday's NBC "Today," fill-in co-host Lester Holt talked to Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace about the GOP presidential race and worried: "Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates....talked about politicians forced to play to hardcore elements of their base. Is this what we're seeing in the Republican race right now? Is the voice of the independent simply not being heard?" [Audio available here]
Holt explained that Gates had "weighed in recently on what he called the 'polarizing trends that are costing us the ability to execute even the most basic functions of government.'" Earlier in the discussion, Holt asked Wallace: "Would the [Republican] party welcome a centrist, at this point?"
I hate to pull an "I told you so," but... well, I told you so. Remember just three days ago I showed how an unsubstantiated rumor becomes political "fact" in the Old Media? I reported that CNNs Peter Hamby found one woman that wondered if actor Gary Sinise might make a great GOP candidate and based an entirely fictional run for office on that wild speculation. Also you'll recall that at the end of my piece I said that it won't be long until this one person's rumination will suddenly turn into the "fact" that Gary Sinise is running for president. You may have laughed at that. But now I present to you this I told you so moment.
You might ask upon what basis this CBS report claimed that Gary Sinise is now running for president in 2012? Was it an interview with Sinise? How about a statement by any group representing Sinise? How about some statements from a PAC or fundraising group or other draft Sinise effort? Nope, none of those. It was the same ONE person that CNN's Hamby used for his false claim that Sinise is a sudden candidate for office.
On Tuesday's “Today” show, co-host Matt Lauer practically dared John McCain spokesperson Nicole Wallace to challenge the narrative created by Michelle Obama in her speech during the previous night of the Democratic National Convention. Lauer cited Mrs. Obama's goal as trying to “put to rest some of the stories that have been going around, and a lot of them being talked about on conservative talk radio, about her lack of patriotism.”
The NBC host then challenged Ms. Wallace, “So, let me ask you on the record, how she did, and does the McCain campaign doubt her love of country?” Of course, Lauer offered no specifics as to what he meant by “some of the stories that have been going around,” nor did he mention the now famous quote of Michelle Obama asserting that “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country,” thus making it sound as though conservatives were just making things up about the candidate's wife.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith discussed the ‘Potomac Primaries’ with Democratic Strategist Dee Dee Myers and Republican CBS Political Analyst Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush Administration Communications Director, who said of John McCain’s conservative critics: "The more that we see kind of the crazies like Ann Coulter out attacking John McCain, the better Republicans feel about their chances in the general election."
This attack upon conservatives critical of McCain, who include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, and others, was prompted by Harry Smith asking about Mike Huckabee’s continued support in the race:
SMITH: Nicolle, let's talk about the Republicans, because McCain, he said himself a week ago, now I'm the frontrunner. This lingering Huckabee thing. Huckabee got a lot of votes in Virginia. These conservatives they're -- they're still -- they're not happy. They're not happy about this guy.
NICOLLE WALLACE: And, you know what, Republicans are beginning to say that's okay.
Implying those on the right opposed to John McCain's Republican presidential bid are extremists beyond the politically acceptable, fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Harry Smith on Thursday night warned that McCain “still faces a tough battle to win the support of hard-line GOP conservatives.” Smith's characterization came a day after Time magazine's Web site headlined a Wednesday posting by Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney, “McCain: Frail with the Far Right.” In the Thursday night CBS story in which Jeff Greenfield avoided pejorative labeling, Nicole Wallace, a CBS News political analyst who was Director of Communications for the Bush White House in 2005-2006, discounted those troubled by McCain -- whom she called “ABM Voters: Anybody But McCain” -- as “a smaller sliver of the party than we give them credit for being.”
That's the second time in eight days a former Bush operative turned network television analyst has dismissed or denigrated conservative concerns about McCain.