The “Progressive” camp’s media hitmen are out in force attempting to avenge Obama’s loss of the recent debate as the result of critical questions about the democrat Left’s annointed candidate’s background and associations by ABC moderators George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson.
The Left likes to dish it out, but it doesn’t like to take it very much. Commentary’s Peter Wehner wonders just how “despicable” and “shameful” the same sort of questions would be if the shoe were on the other foot.
In an article today, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post cites various media figuresâ€“from Tom Shales of the Post to Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher to Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News to MSNBCâ€™s Keith Olbermannâ€“who are outraged at the performance of George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson during Wednesdayâ€™s Democratic debate. The ABC News duoâ€™s performance, we are told, was â€œdespicable,â€ â€œshameful,â€ and â€œdisgraced democracy itself.â€
And what did Stephanopoulos and Gibson do to earn this scorn? Why, they asked Barack Obama some probing questions, including one about his past relationships with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Jr. and a former leader of the Weather Underground, William Ayers.
Consider this thought experiment: Assume that a conservative candidate for the GOP nomination spent two decades at a church whose senior pastor was a white supremacist who uttered ugly racial (as well as anti-American) epithets from the pulpit. Assume, too, that this minister wasnâ€™t just the candidateâ€™s pastor but also a close friend, the man who married the candidate and his wife, baptized his two daughters, and inspired the title of his best-selling book.
In addition, assume that this GOP candidate, in preparing for his entry into politics, attended an early organizing meeting at the home of a man who, years before, was involved in blowing up multiple abortion clinics and today was unrepentant, stating his wish that he had bombed even more clinics. And letâ€™s say that the GOP candidateâ€™s press spokesman described the relationship between the two men as â€œfriendly.â€
Do you think that if those moderating a debate asked the GOP candidate about these relationships for the first time, after 22 previous debates had been held, that other journalists would become apoplectic at the moderators for merely asking about the relationships? Not only would there be a near-universal consensus that those questions should be asked; there would be a moral urgency in pressing for answers. We would, I predict, be seeing an unprecedented media â€œfeeding frenzy.â€
As John F. Harris & Jim Vandehei observe, the Left is using its entrenched position atop the mainstream media’s high ground to punish deviation and to intimidate those not perfectly loyal.
My, oh my, but werenâ€™t those fellows from ABC News rude to Barack Obama at this weekâ€™s presidential debate.
Nothing but petty, process-oriented questions, asked in a prosecutorial tone, about the Democratic front-runnerâ€™s personal associations and his electability. Where was the substance? Where was the balance?
Where indeed. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her aides have been complaining for months about imbalance in news coverage. For the most part, the reaction to her from the political-media commentariat has been: Stop whining.
Thatâ€™s still a good response now that it is Obama partisans â€” some of whom are showing up in distressingly inappropriate places â€” who are doing the whining.
The shower of indignation on Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos over the last few days is the clearest evidence yet that the Clintonites are fundamentally correct in their complaint that she has been flying throughout this campaign into a headwind of media favoritism for Obama.
Last fall, when NBCâ€™s Tim Russert hazed Clinton with a bunch of similar questions â€” a mix of fair and impertinent â€” he got lots of gripes from Clinton supporters.
But there was nothing like the piling on from journalists rushing to validate the Obama criticisms and denouncing ABCâ€™s performance as journalistically unsound.
The response was itself a warning about a huge challenge for reporters in the 2008 cycle: preserving professional detachment in a race that will likely feature two nominees, Obama and John McCain, who so far have been beneficiaries of media cheerleading.