If you can’t print something good, please stop.

>> Monday, August 4, 2008

I do not know why I keep reading newspapers and magazine articles about politics. Every time I read a new article I become increasingly frustrated. I cannot decide whether most of the problems in the articles are due to intentional bias, willful ignorance, or plain ineptness. The latest article that triggered angry temple rubbing is one from Newsweek entitled Here We Go Again.

It does not take very long for the article to set its McCain apologist tone. Four sentences in,

A front-page article last week in The Washington Post was headlined AS AIDES MAP AGGRESSIVE RACE, MCCAIN OFTEN STEERS OFF-COURSE. The article was likely fed by Republican Party operatives who were frustrated by McCain's tendency to undercut or talk over his attack lines by being a candid or forgiving human being. When McCain offhandedly described Obama's plan to withdraw troops from Iraq in 16 months as a "pretty good timetable," GOP advisers moaned that he was ruining his attack on Obama as naive on foreign policy. The problem, in the view of campaign strategists, isn't the message—bashing Obama as arrogant and out of touch. Rather, "it's the candidate," says a "GOP strategist with close ties to the campaign," anonymously quoted by the Post.

It's clear McCain's handlers are determined now to keep him "on message" and not allow much spontaneity to creep into his performances.

The lies and smears are apparently not McCain’s fault because he is a candid and forgiving human being. It is the mean strategists that have been thrust upon him by…who? McCain chooses whom to hire. He hired people known for dirty smear tactics. He is the one in charge. Letting McCain off the hook here is like arresting the bullet instead of the shooter. Also, note the running theme that is not expressed in the article, the truth and reality are the enemy.

When McCain offhandedly described Obama's plan to withdraw troops from Iraq in 16 months as a "pretty good timetable," GOP advisers moaned that he was ruining his attack on Obama as naive on foreign policy.

McCain opened up and told the truth. That is a problem for the GOP? Maybe the author could note that for the readers? The GOP wanted McCain to lie or as the article calls it, “stay on message”. Spontaneous truth must be suppressed. It is one thing to stay on message when your message is education or helping the poor or erasing the national debt but when your message is entirely composed of lies and smears the truth is off message.

Instead of calling out McCain for his lies and smears as should happen, the article sets up false equivalences to let McCain retain his positive reputation.

Though a veteran of political knife fighting in Chicago, Obama has been more restrained, or at least a little more subtle about negative campaigning, but he does not always rise above it. McCain's staffers were infuriated in April, when Obama slyly talked up McCain's age by saying that Democrats wouldn't play "the age card" and in May, when Obama pointedly remarked that McCain had "lost his bearings" and was "confused."

What is the slime here? Is saying McCain is too old to be president the same as saying Obama would, “rather lose a war to win a campaign”? The article contains several other false equivalences including this one

As much as McCain, Obama has called for a new kind of politics that rises above partisan backbiting. But he, or more commonly his surrogates, routinely take potshots at McCain. Indeed, the McCain advisers insist they are just fighting fire with fire by aggressively going after Obama. They note, for instance, that when a radio host warming up a McCain rally pointedly used Obama's middle name (Hussein), McCain repudiated the remarks and called for an apology. But when another radio host at an Obama rally called McCain a "warmonger," Obama did not personally disavow the comment. (Instead his campaign dismissed the remark in a press release.)

McCain is a warmonger. He says, “there are more wars” and is very dedicated to keeping us in Iraq. He is very hawkish on Iran and would be more than willing to use a military option if given the chance. He wants to make war against American cities using a surge strategy. Ed Shultz’s comment is true and does not contain false implications like Barack Obama is a Muslim Manchurian candidate.

The article also contains a brief mention of the presumptuous/arrogant/uppity line of attack.

Obama has tried to play it cool, to not let traditional Rovean tactics get under his skin, the way Republican attacks usually do with Democrats. It's particularly perilous for Obama, who has sometimes looked arrogant while trying to act unfazed.

Give me a break. What arrogance? Where is this coming from, where is the evidence? There isn’t any. Not there, does not exist. Please, if you cant do better than this please stop.


O-le,O-le, O-le, O-le! O-le, O-le!

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