Can anyone still wonder why the Democrats declined the generous invitation from Fox News to debate on their network? If that so called “debate” last Wednesday on ABC was not enough to prove the corporate media may as well be working for McCain, I don’t know what else could do it. For about an entire hour the nation had to endure pointless, propagandistic drivel such as who loves America most, flag worship, flag pins, the patriotism of a Marine Corps veteran pastor, and the activities of a former radical from over forty years ago.
The time that remained for real issues was taken up with such “objectivity” as Charles Gibson’s arguing against capital gains taxes and his reverential reference to Bush’s pet General Petraeus:
“But Senator Clinton, aren't you saying -- I mean, General Petraeus was in Washington. You both were there when he testified, saying that the gains in Iraq are fragile and are reversible. Are you essentially saying, ‘I know better than the military commanders here’?”
Everyone but corporate media hacks and Radical Right mouthpieces has been talking about the tabloid nature and general irrelevance of many of the questions. If you missed the commercial TV event interspersed with an odd little inquisition of idiocy, consider yourself fortunate. Trust me; you’d have been more enlightened watching American Idol or Survivor, or anything else other than TV “news”.
Besides the questions posed by former Clinton crony George Stephanopoulos and Gibson, let me point to this example of the McCain/McMedia Complex.
There was a luncheon for the nation’s newspaper editors hosted by the Associated Press on the Monday before the debate. Both McCain and Obama appeared. Only one of them received a standing ovation. As everyone indoctrinated by the right wing corporate media would presume, the ovation would have to have been for Obama. Nope. McCain was the recipient of the editors’ adulation.
How’s that for “liberal media bias”? But wait, there’s more.
After McCain was greeted with a box of donuts and some coffee and a hearty standing ovation, it was Obama’s turn. However, the Democratic candidate was given no donuts, no coffee, and no standing ovation.
Instead of donuts “with sprinkles” for McCain, he was offered an interesting question from AP Chairman Dean Singleton. He quizzed Obama about whether he would send more troops to Afghanistan, where "Obama bin Laden is still at large?"
"I think that was Osama bin Laden," Barack replied.
"If I did that, I'm so sorry!" Singleton said, after his little Freudian, or rather, Rovian slip.
The public was barraged with clucking and squawking over a comment about bitter Americans, but not more than a peep about this media muck up. Neither were they informed very much about Johnny Bomb Bomb’s frighteningly inaccurate assertion about who we were fighting in Iraq:
“Well, it’s common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran. That’s well known. And it’s unfortunate. So I believe that we are succeeding in Iraq. The situation is dramatically improved. But I also want to emphasize time and again al-Qaeda is on the run, but they are not defeated.”
This dangerous falsehood was repeated by McCain as much as Hillary told her Bosnian sniper story. Which one did the media play the most?
See what I mean?
Here's another example from the April 10th edition of Hardball on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: He's [Sen. Barack Obama] not that good at that -- handshaking in a diner.
SHUSTER: No --
MATTHEWS: Barack doesn't seem to know how to do that right.
SHUSTER: -- he doesn't do that well. But then you see him in front of 15,000 people in some of these college towns, and that's why, Chris, we've seen Chelsea Clinton and Bill Clinton in Bloomington and South Bend and Terre Haute. I mean --
MATTHEWS: What's so hard about doing a diner? I don't get it. Why doesn't he go in there and say, "Did you see the papers today? What do you think about that team? How did we do last night?" Just some regular connection?
SHUSTER: Well, here's the other thing that we saw on the tape, Chris, is that, when Obama went in, he was offered coffee, and he said, "I'll have orange juice."
SHUSTER: He did. And it's just one of those sort of weird things. You know, when the owner of the diner says, "Here, have some coffee," you say, "Yes, thank you," and, "Oh, can I also please have some orange juice, in addition to this?" You don't just say, "No, I'll take orange juice," and then turn away and start shaking hands. That's what happens [unintelligible] --
MATTHEWS: You don't ask for a substitute on the menu.
MATTHEWS: David, what a regular guy. You could do this. Anyway, thank you, David Shuster. I mean, go to the diners.
And let's not forget this gem from September 10, 2006 by Chris Matthews: "The press loves McCain. We're his base. "
I could go on and on.
Let’s go back to the debate. TV critic, Tom Shales of The Washington Post, said Gibson and Stephanopoulos "turned in shoddy, despicable performances."
After some of this outraged reaction to the ABC moderators poured in, Stephanopoulos said: "Sure, there's a risk." But he added: "If you look at the fall campaign, there are some clear signals from Senator Obama's opponents that all of these issues are going to be put together in a general argument. They all go back to that same theme."
Well, wasn’t it convenient that ABC transmitted “clear signals from Senator Obama's opponents” into the debate, much to Hillary’s and McCain’s advantage?
"The questions were tough and fair and appropriate and relevant," Stephanopoulos told The Associated Press. "We wanted to focus at first on the issues that were not focused on during the last debates."
He may as well have said “fair and balanced”. The question about former Weather Underground member William Ayers was fed to Stephanopoulos directly from Fox’s own Sean Hannity.
And this was indeed much to Hannity’s delight. He later crowed, “Now of course, the liberal blogs are losing their minds in part because I suggested the question to George Stephanopoulos Tuesday afternoon on my radio show.”
Stephanopoulos explained to ABC News political correspondent Jake Tapper, “We have been researching this for a while,” he said. “Part of what we discovered is that Sen. Obama had never been asked directly about it, even though it’s being written about and talked about and Republicans are signaling that this is gonna be an issue in the general election.”
There he goes again, transmitting and boosting what those “Republicans are signaling”.
Hannity was not the only delighted member of the Radical Right to laud the debate.
Radio propagandist Laura Ingraham noted that Gibson and Stephanopoulos also asked the candidates about Iraq, Israel, gas prices, capital gains taxes, affirmative action and a Supreme Court case on the D.C. handgun ban.
"That's pretty substantive," she said. "It was one of the best debates of the entire political season, because it addressed substance and character at the same time . . . “
Right wing blogger Ed Morrissey at hotair.com was also impressed:
"Thanks to a surprisingly tenacious set of questions for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from ABC moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, Barack Obama got exposed over and over again as an empty suit, while Hillary cleaned his clock . . .Kudos to ABC News for taking on both candidates fearlessly."
Such lavish praise for the liberal media! Why, it’s almost like ABC News has merged with Fox News. The McCain/McMedia Complex is now blooming in all its glory.
Does anybody still wonder who’s going to win the election?