As I reported earlier, the scurrilous claim that McCain vice presidential pick Governor Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy with a Down's Syndrome child is beginning to spread among the lowest of the nutrooters. Now, the unhinged, smear site DemocraticUnderground.com has boosted this lie to their front pages. Naturally, since these hate sites feed into each other, the spurious source of the DU story is another DailyKos story like the one I earlier reported upon.
Of course, this whole meme is nothing but a lie. Are we expected to believe an entire state, its hospitals, doctors and media establishment helped cover up this pregnancy story? And they all did this for a Republican, to boot? It makes little logical sense to believe a word of this black helicopter conspiracy theory. Next thing we know, the Kossacks and DUers are going to expect us to believe that Big Foot and some gray aliens were the attendants at the birth!
Furthering the Obama campaign's complaints about McCain running mate Gov. Sarah Palin's (R-Alaska) inexperience, Politico's Fred Barbash and David Mark turned to presidential historians for comment, who panned the wisdom of McCain's pick.
Yet as an e-mail tipster to NewsBusters pointed out, two of the historians critical of Palin's "lack of experience" donated money to Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Our tipster was too generous.
Can anybody recall Campbell Brown pestering Democrat officials over Barack Obama's lack of not only foreign policy experience but overall experience? I sure can't but here is Brown hectoring McCain Political Director Mike Duhaime about her sudden concern over lack of experience. Here is a transcript of the interrogation but to get the full flavor of Brown's attitude complete with cynical facial expressions, be sure to watch the video (emphasis mine):
It was more like 10 AM than 3 AM. Somewhere, a phone was ringing, to announce the news that John McCain had selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. And the immediate response of Barack Obama's operation was intemperate and inappropriate. Obama found himself apologizing, calling the reaction "hair trigger." He and Biden subsequently made the more gracious kind of comment that should have been offered in the first place. Senators get to "revise and extend" their remarks when they've said something dumb on the floor. That's not always the case for presidents. A "hair trigger" reaction to a real crisis could have disastrous consequences.
Said Obama spokesman Bill Burton snidely when the news broke:
Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same
Compare and contrast with the gracious, statesmanlike ad McCain aired on the day of Obama's acceptance speech. Obama eventually realized that his campaign's intemperate reaction was out of line. According to the AP, Obama "blamed the mixed messages about McCain's choice, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on campaign aides with a "hair trigger."
(Via The O'Reilly Factor on FNC) On his show last night (Fri. 8/29/08), Bill O'Reilly called it, "One of the most outrageous things I've ever seen in my 35 years of journalism."
During coverage of Sarah Palin accepting to be John McCain's running mate, MSNBC ran a graphic. Under the banner of "BREAKING NEWS," MSNBC put on the screen, "How many houses does Palin add to the Republican ticket?" Outrageous, indeed.
Add this episode to the mountains of evidence illustrating the pro-Obama bias at MSNBC.
Just as my colleague Brent Baker found on Friday night, the big broadcast networks on Saturday morning showed no shyness about labeling Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin a “conservative,” with NBC Today co-host Amy Robach calling her “a staunch conservative,” CBS’s Chip Reid tagging her “reliably conservative,” and ABC’s Kate Snow finding Palin to be “quite conservative.”
But seven days earlier, as those same programs reacted to the Obama campaign’s text message heralding Joe Biden as the Democratic vice presidential candidate, none of those broadcast found a moment to call him “liberal,” in spite of Biden’s lengthy record of liberal votes as determined by the nonpartisan National Journal.
Here’s a quick rundown of how the three broadcast networks emphasized Palin’s ideology on their August 30 programs:
In an effort to run down Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, a snarling Jack Cafferty managed to insult the entire state of Alaska on CNN's Situation Room: "Sarah Palin is in her first term as governor of Alaska, that's a state that has 13 people and some caribou." This was one small part of an acid-laced harangue by Cafferty on the subject of Sarah Palin, (emphasis mine):
On ABC’s Good Morning America on Saturday, co-anchor Bill Weir bristled with hostility during an interview with a McCain campaign spokesman about the choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate, suggesting she was unqualified and too conservative. At one point, Weir even suggested that by running for Vice President, the Governor would be jeopardizing her four-month old daughter, who has Down’s Syndrome.
Weir confronted McCain political director Mike DuHaime: “Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the Senator, and the Governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?” When DuHaime offered a general answer about Palin’s “incredible life story,” an obviously irritated Weir jumped in, exclaiming “She has an infant -- she has an infant with special needs. Will that affect her campaigning?”
Just a few moments later, that line of questioning was quickly criticized by ABC’s Cokie Roberts as sexist. Without mentioning Weir, Roberts said questions “about who’s taking care of the children...traditionally has very much angered women voters when women candidates are asked those questions and male candidates never are.”
Taking a look at the stories in the Old Media will show that the Media is turning attack dog ASAP on McCain's choice for vice president, Sarah Palin. Notice the main meme is her supposed "inexperience." Funny how Palin was the VP pick for about 15 seconds before the Old Media went after her "inexperience" while they have yet to hit Barry Obama on HIS inexperience at all and he's been running for president since 2004. We should also note that Palin didn't get the honeymoon that Biden got when his announcement was made. But, the worst is yet to come and the Daily Kos is doing its level best to mine the lowest of lows. In a Kos diary today, it is being alleged that Sarah Palin "faked" the pregnancy of her last child, a baby born with Down's Syndrome. The claim is that it was her teenaged daughter's child, not hers. And, true to form, the Kossacks took that absurd calumny and hate even further in the comments.
With all the pseudo gravity the Kos diarist could muster, this ridiculous story of a "cover-up" was floated for the foolish Kossacks to lap up. Inky99 gave us the scurrilous diary headlined "Palin's faked 'pregnancy'? Covering for teen daughter?," in which the Kossacks posit that Governor Palin covered up her own teenage daughter's teen pregnancy by pretending it is her own child instead of her daughter's.
You might have thought Bill Weir would have learned. Yesterday, CNN's John Roberts was roundly condemned for suggesting Sarah Palin might neglect her Down Syndrome baby while running for VP. But Weir, the weekend co-anchor of Good Morning America, posed a very similar question this morning. Coke Roberts, to her credit, called him out on it. Weir's guest during GMA's opening half-hour was McCain political director Mike Duhaime.
BILL WEIR: I must ask. Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the senator and the governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?
MIKE DUHAIME: In terms of her personal life? You know, to the extent people want to look at her, she's got an incredible life story: five children, the son going into the military, she's got a --
Weir brusquely interrupted, virtually shouting.
WEIR: She has an, she has an infant with special needs. Will that affect her campaigning?
Last Saturday night, in multiple stories on all three broadcast network evening shows about Barack Obama's VP pick, Senator Joe Biden was never described as a liberal. Friday night, however, CBS and NBC accurately tagged John McCain's selection, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, as “reliably conservative” or a “solid conservative” -- and that's not counting references to how she will shore up support for McCain amongst conservatives. On ABC's World News, for instance, David Wright reported: “The McCain campaign also hopes Palin can excite conservatives given her life-long support for gun rights and her opposition to abortion rights.” Listing the pros and cons to the pick, CBS's Jeff Greenfield made “delights the right” a plus. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell combined a label with Palin's potential to help McCain: “Palin is a social conservative, against abortion and for gun rights, who could energize the party's base.”
On the CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer dubbed Palin “John McCain Jr.” since she's “somebody who is willing to take on her own party.” Anchor Katie Couric interjected: “But with conservative principles,” to which Schieffer affirmed: “Yeah, with conservative principles.” Two other straight-forward labels applied to Palin on the Friday night, August 29 newscasts:
Chip Reid on CBS: “On most issues, she is reliably conservative, agreeing with McCain on the need to cut taxes and slash spending.” He also described her as “a fierce opponent of abortion.”
John Larson, from Anchorage, on the NBC Nightly News: “Governor Palin is a solid conservative, firmly supporting gun rights and strongly opposing abortion.”
CNN frequent contributor and Huffington Post's political director Hilary Rosen slammed John McCain's vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin as being unqualified on Friday's Newsroom program and accused the Republicans pandering to women, especially Hillary Clinton supporters: "Senator McCain obviously thinks this is going to go a long way to help those women who are attracted to Hillary Clinton. I think if you were attracted to Hillary Clinton, in many ways, it was because she's a qualified woman" (Rosen put emphasis on "qualified" by practically yelling the word). She later accused the GOP of trying to "change skirts and put it on another woman, and have it be an acceptable thing" (audio available here).
Of all the criticisms an apparently panicky Dem party has heaped on Sarah Palin in the hours since her selection was announced, Keith Boykin [bio] has come up with perhaps the unseemliest. The former aide to President Clinton has accused Palin of being an "affirmative action" pick.
Boykin, a graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard Law, was debating the selection with Republican Joe Watkins at the end of MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour. After some preliminary jousting, Boykin dropped his bomb.
KEITH BOYKIN Let me just say something about this choice. The reason why she doesn't help, quite frankly, is because it's an insult. It's an insult to women. I spoke to several women today at the Democratic National Convention who said it's insulting John McCain would pick somebody—an affirmative-action candidate basically—who is not qualified.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson appeared on CNN's "Newsroom" on Friday to discuss the selection of Governor Sarah Palin as Senator John McCain's vice presidential running. During her interview, "American Morning" co-host John King played a clip of Palin from Glenn Beck's Headline News show from June in which Palin said that she would not accept an offer to be McCain's running mate because she felt she could help Alaska contribute more to America. Roberts then questioned Palin's commitment to her state:
So even back then, you know, speculation wise that she might be chosen as the running mate but she seemed very dedicated to the state of Alaska. The fact that she's leaving it behind after just two years in office, what does that say about her commitment to politics at least on the state level?
However, during his time as Chief White House Correspondent for CBS, Roberts talked up Senator Hillary Clinton as a potential candidate for president in the 2004 election. Roberts filed reports on the possibility of her candidacy on the November 2, 2003, "Evening News" and again on the November 3, 2003, "Early Show," just halfway into her first term as a Senator from New York, and while he did refer to Clinton as "polarizing," he never questioned her commitment to New York:
Over on the magazine's Web site, Time's Jay Newton-Small published a brief phone interview she conducted on August 14 with Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska), a full 15 days before being chosen by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as his running mate.
The agenda of questions were overall devoid of a political slant and did include one softball about how her youth and gender affect her approach.
While NBC's Matt Lauer took pains to label John McCain's vice presidential nominee a "staunch" and "stalwart" conservative on Friday, all three network morning shows almost entirely avoided any ideological descriptors for Senators Obama, Biden and the major liberal speakers during the just completed August 25 to 28 Democratic National Convention.
Some of the individuals at the convention included Al Gore, Senator Ted Kennedy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, all politicians with an obvious leftward tilt. The only exception to the liberal label blackout included references by NBC's "Today" and CBS's "Early Show" on Tuesday when various reporters affectionately referred to Kennedy as the "liberal lion," of the Senate, a clear term on endearment. (ABC's "Good Morning America" used the word "lion" in regards to Kennedy, but not "liberal.") This foreshadows a Republican National Convention, September 1 to the 4, a period where John McCain and Sarah Palin will very likely be labeled "conservative" many times.
While a lot of the members of the mainstream media were scratching their heads, trying to figure out just who Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was, CNBC actually came through with an almost immediate positive response.
The August 29 broadcast of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" featured two of the network's prominent personalities analyzing Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain's choice of a running mate. "Closing Bell" host Maria Bartiromo and "Kudlow & Company" host Larry Kudlow said McCain's decision was wise.
Bartiromo, who was set to feature Palin in an upcoming CNBC special on energy, called the governor a "terrific choice."
BARTIROMO: "I can tell you a lot about Gov. Palin just from my conversation with her and from the day that we spent with her and that is she challenged the establishment in Alaska. She is very, very popular in Alaska and what she brings to the table predominantly is her knowledge and her know-how of energy. That's the bottom line."
CNN’s John Roberts, after briefly alluding to the issue of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s experience he called into question earlier on Friday’s "Newsroom" program, asked correspondent Dana Bash about how the Alaska governor’s newborn son with Down’s syndrome might be affected if she were elected: "There's also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome.... Children with Down's syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?"
Bash deftly answered this question, which has the implication that Palin could neglect her infant son, and made a possible counter-argument the McCain camp would use, that a question like Roberts’ would be sexist: "That's a very good question, and I guess -- my guess is that, perhaps, the line inside the McCain campaign would be, if it were a man being picked who also had a baby, but -- you know, four months ago with Down's Syndrome, would you ask the same question?"
The CNN correspondent continued by briefly describing the Palin’s family situation and the thinking that may have gone into the situation for both McCain and Palin herself. She concluded by reporting on the Alaska governor’s appeal to social conservatives because she is "very staunchly anti-abortion," in Bash’s words.
The full transcript of the exchange between John Roberts and Dana Bash, which began 7 minutes into the 11 am Eastern hour of CNN’s "Newsroom" [audio available here]:
The following is the News Alert on the front page of one of Sen. Barack Obama's hometown papers (emphasis mine):
John John McCain tapped little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate on Friday in a startling selection on the eve of the Republican National Convention. In an announcement, the campaign said that Palin, who has been governor less than two years, "has the record of reform and bipartisanship that others can only speak of."
Kind of amusing considering Chicago is the town that brought America a little-known junior senator to prominence as the Democratic nominee for the presidency.
Confirming that John McCain picked Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, as his running mate, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos were quick to jump on the corruption within Alaska’s Republican party, but did not tell the whole story. George Stephanopolous noted that Senator Ted Stevens is under indictment and the state’s at large congressman, Don Young is "facing corruption charges is still in the middle of a recount for their Republican primary."
All of which are true, but Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton aide, did not reveal that Palin actually supports Don Young’s primary opponent. Stephanopoulos also does not seem to have the same concern about Chicago’s Democratic machine when covering Obama.
In fairness, host Charlie Gibson called her a "Republican maverick" and noted she has been "sharply critical" of Alaska’s corrupt Republican machine.
Just minutes after the news arrived that John McCain had selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate on Friday, "Today" host Matt Lauer broke into regular coverage and began labeling her as a "staunch conservative" and a "stalwart conservative." The "Today" show has, thus far, avoided using ideological labels for Barack Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, during this week's Democratic convention.
And although many members of the media have resisted pointing out Obama's inexperience, Lauer immediately seized on the subject for Palin and used Quayle-like "heartbeat away" terminology: "We have a 72 year-old nominee of the Republican Party and the vice presidency...This is a position of a heart beat away and how are people going to feel about Sarah Palin in that situation?" NBC political director Chuck Todd replied by asserting how McCain is "rolling the dice on this. He's absolutely gambling."
During the 9 a.m. EDT hour of “CNN Newsroom,” “American Morning” co-anchor John Roberts gave an analysis of Governor Sarah Palin during discussion of Senator John McCain's vice presidential choice. Roberts focused on Palin's lack of experience, saying that a prerequisite for the vice presidency should be the ability to step right into the office, especially because of McCain's age. Roberts stated:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin isn't just a pro-life politician. She recently proved she's pro-life by personal example. In an age when many parents receive the news that they're carrying a baby with Down syndrome and then "terminate" the pregnancy," Gov. Palin gave birth to a son with Down syndrome and announced her delight at God's blessing. The national news rarely covers much from Alaska, but this story also has a heartwarming pro-life angle, which offers a political reason for the media to go whistling past it. [UPDATE: A reader noted Alaska's AP had it, and the picture I've added.]
Alaskan columnist Effie Caldarola wrote it up and I read it in my church paper, the Arlington Catholic Herald. I couldn't find it online:
Over a month ago, her office announced that the 44-year-old and her husband, Todd, were expecting their fifth child in May. It was a secret the beguiling brunette, a runner, managed to keep from even her staff.