Friday, August 1, 2008

Misleading Washington Times Article

The Washington Times published an article this morning by Stephen Dinan discussing how the campaign has turned nasty - with both candidates trading insults...

What's telling is that in every McCain example, he actually accuses Obama of "playing the race card", and being a lightweight celebrity like Paris Hilton.

And what is the Washington Times' Obama example? "Obama ridiculed McCain for depicting him as a lightweight celebrity". Ridiculed him indeed... what Obama said was:

"So far, all we've been hearing about is Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. I mean, I do, I do have to ask my opponent, is that the best you can come up with? Is that really what this election's about? Is that what is worthy of the American people?"

... not really ridiculing John McCain here, is he? Certainly not in a way that could be construed as an "insult".

The worst thing Obama is catalogued as saying is:

"Nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face, so what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me: You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He's risky. That's essentially the argument they're making."

But that's not really accusing McCain of anything! He's not saying "you're a racist, McCain", as the McCain campaign suggests he is.

So basically we have a situation where McCain has been running some strange - and I would argue uncharacteristic - negative ads that are heaping insult and name-calling on Obama. Obama is responding and saying they are ridiculous without accusing McCain of anything. When Obama speaks the worst he does is say "McCain called me [blank], and that's wrong". He never says anything like "McCain is [blank]". And yet the Washington Times and lots of other media sources are saying that insults are coming from both sides!


I've been amazed at Obama's restraint. I really hope he doesn't go negative.


JSN said...

I laughed at the headline. Washington Times? Something misleading? Say it isn't so!

Do you know much about the Rev. Sun Myung-Moon who owns it? How he was crowned Messiah by members of the U.S. Congress. I'm not making this up.

Well, he's probably flushed between a couple hundred million to a billion down the toilet on the always-money-losing Washington Times over the last few decades.

By the way, I am a Democrat, for all practical purposes an Obama supporter, but I can't see the "looks like" comment as anything other than accusing the McCain campaign of racism. He's certainly not saying that he is the candidate who doesn't wear a powdered wig.

And there definitely are supporters of McCain, and probably former-Hillary supporters, who are against Obama because of his race, although mostly using other arguments publicly.

dkuehn said...

And some are more explicitly against him because of his race.

You're right - if he specifically is attributing that to McCain, it's pretty obvious what he's saying. but when he said "what they're going to try to do..." I took "they" to mean the McCain campaign rather than specifically McCain or Bush. And there are certainly people who have implicitly or explicitly made racist attacks on Obama, although perhaps not McCain himself.

But still, its just not the same as McCain saying that Obama is as dismissable as Paris Hilton in that ad.

Still... this segment makes you wonder:

Now in this segment, they're talking about immigration and not obama specifically, but O'Reilly is saying to McCain: "do you understand what the far left want? they want to break down the White Christian male power structure of which you are a part and so am I"... and the whole time McCain is nodding and not objecting. This isn't proof of anything, but it makes you wonder what's going on in his head...

The repeated references to Barak "Hussein" Obama are pretty underhanded as well. I don't know if that's racism or playing on people's fears, but its there.

dkuehn said...

ya, and Myung-Moon is pretty freaking crazy too.

One thing I do appreciate is that for the most part, the Times is pretty obvious about their bias (similar to how the NYT is). The Washington Post can be interesting because they can be much more subtle about their various biases - which they definitely have.

JSN said...

I'd never seen that O'Reilly/McCain clip before. Thanks for the link.

John McCain's middle is Sidney, by the way, a fairly funny name in its own right (no offense to a woman I respected a ton in college named Sidney).

The Post is, as far as I can tell, a bit less Partisan, but still, to some degree, a mouthpiece for the Official Line, especially as it relates to U.S. foreign policy.