Boehlert's Revenge: Part II

By Big Tent Democrat

Speaking for me only

Greg Mitchell writes:

In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia. They, and their network, should hang their collective heads in shame.

Apparently, Mitchell skipped all of the NBC moderated debates this campaign season. ABC's performance last night was truly horrendous. The bias and unfairness against Obama incredible. But Greg Mitchell has had nothing to say about NBC becoming the Obama News Network. During debates and beyond. Has he watched Keith Olbermann's embarrassing performances? Truth be told, people like Greg Mitchell need to hang their head in shame because they said NOTHING when the hatchet job was done on Hillary Clinton. This is Boehlert's Revenge:

What’s happening online now is potentially dangerous: HRC has gotten dreadful press, not fair, “gotcha,” and so on — there’s a portion of the blogosphere that has ignored that and there’s a portion that has encouraged that.

It’s dangerous because the media criticism has to be consistent and relentless, and we can’t very well say, “You can’t go after our candidates … except this one.” I get nervous about pushback regarding disingenuous coverage - our response needs to be, “You can’t treat Democrats this way.” When people in the left blogosphere are quoting an anonymous Matt Drudge source, it makes me nervous.

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  • Display: Sort:
    I dont get how its unfair (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:40:22 AM EST
    to ask him questions he will face in the general.
    life is not fair.

    Its educating the voters.. don't call it unfair (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by TalkRight on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:00:24 AM EST
    Because of the debate yesterday... At the moment,
    "Ayers" is the fifth most searched term on Google, according to Google Trends; "Ayers Obama" is 15th. "William Ayers" is 26th.

    Thanks for educating the poorly informed voters about the background of Obama's associates and friends... I just don't understand why that is NOT important.. I think it is MOST important because we hardly know anything else about Obama. He is most likely the kind of friends he chooses and associates with!!


    Obama campaign (5.00 / 6) (#3)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:43:42 AM EST
    Obama's campaign is not about ten point plans, he said that on the Charlie Rose interview, Axelrod said it's about his story.  Well, that is what happened.  First part of the debate is about his story.   Obama copied the RNC playbook, creating a life story a character that America will buy.  So, now they complain about the tactic?  He diverted the discussion so he has to take it.  Not everyone either believes or loves his story,  

    When you're running on politics, not policy... (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by dianem on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:50:11 AM EST
    ...it seems unfair to criticize the media for asking you political questions. Obama is running pretty much exclusively on "Unity" and "Change". Yet he hangs out with people whose idea of "Unity" means hating America in general and poor and white Americans in particular, and whose idea's for "Change" seem to mean blowing things up. Why didn't he just renounce Ayers actions and point out that these things happened a long time ago instead of pretending that his association with him didn't matter because he hardly knew him.

    How was it unfair? (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by dianem on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:44:57 AM EST
    Every question asked Obama dealt with a current issue facing his campaign or a policy issue that he should have been able to answer easily. Clinton was asked the same types of questions. Obama blew it - he wasn't ready with answers, he stumbled, he tried to turn answers into attacks on Clinton, and now his campaign is trying to turn the entire debate into a referendum on the moderator's.  Clinton was asked some challenging questions and she sailed through them (well, every one except the Bosnia one) so smoothly that you didn't even feel she had been challenged. For example, the question about supporting New York City's stringent gun laws was handled so smoothly that the monitor showing independent's feelings went from low to high. She had a perfect answer to a question that should have been impossible to wiggle around. Obmama should have had similar answers for every controversty. You can try to blame the moderator's for bringing up tough questions, but the candidate's had an opportunity to formally lay issue's to rest. Obama simply blew it.

    In other words (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:47:29 AM EST
    In other words, the good professor didn't do his homework.

    exactly (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:52:11 AM EST
    even the most inane one, the lapel pin for example.
    do we honestly think the republicans wont use this stuff in the general?  do we have any memory at all?
    he has to be able to answer these questions.
    he was not able to do that.

    That was a no brainer (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by dianem on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:00:20 AM EST
    I I could have answered it in my sleep. "I don't usually wear a flag pin because I feel that politicians too often use the flag as a tool to show their patriotism instead of showing by their words and actions that they support the Democratic principles that make America great.

    Great answer, (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by kenoshaMarge on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:29:13 AM EST
    I think I'll vote for you.

    That is a good answer (none / 0) (#52)
    by lookoverthere on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:57:36 AM EST
    As I recall, Sen. Obama did say something like that way back when. It was good, then, too.

    But wasn't the lapel pin question from someone in Pennsylvania? A woman, first name Nash, I think. Whether he thinks it's a manufactured issue or not, it mattered to her. I thought he could've been a little more gracious in speaking to her concerns.

    Didn't he dis Jimmy Carter, too?


    Had Obama's (5.00 / 6) (#19)
    by Lena on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:59:35 AM EST
    answers to the "gotcha" questions been good, the audience would have said that Gibson and George gave Obama an excellent opportunity to deal with(and dispose of) any controversy surrounding his run. Had he answered well, we'd probably all be screaming about how unfair it was that Obama was yet again given a national platform and unlimited time in which to allay the public's fear about his character.

    And had Obama had any negative press in the past, he would have been able to do so. Since he hasn't, he was revealed as a rank amateur at deflecting and moving on.

    If BTD is still supporting Obama because of his media darling status, I wonder how this debate might change that? In some ways, being a media darling has softened him up and made him less able to deal with the big bad world of a hostile MSM. He crumples under pressure and his answers are halting and incoherent.

    The "greater risk/greater reward" rationale for supporting Obama just revealed an even higher level of risk.


    Of all the blogpundits and (5.00 / 8) (#6)
    by andgarden on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:45:27 AM EST
    Obama backers, I think only you and maybe a few others have the credibility to criticize ABC without appearing hypocritical.

    ABC deserves criticism, but where were these critics when Brian Williams was asking Obama to please attack Hillary?

    Respectfully disagree (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Lil on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:47:34 AM EST
    These questions were relative to new flaps since the last debate (an eternity ago). If moderators didn't bring them up, everybody would be asking today how they could have ignored these items. I would have liked more substance, but Wright, Bosnia, "cling", etc. have been what all the news has been about for the last couple of weeks. People may not have liked it or preferred something else, but they would have been excoriated for ignoring the elephant in the room.

    It really was a great opportunity. (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:53:51 AM EST
    A nationally televised debate that will probably be discussed for at least one news cycle?  Coming soon after a troublesome news cycle?

    That's the perfect time to lay those issues to rest and replace them with a shiny new sound bite.  Obama should have been ready, eager even.


    He (none / 0) (#24)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:09:16 AM EST
    just isn't that good of a politician.  He's a good illusionist--or his handlers are.  But he isn't good at politics, really.

    I can't believe the outrage this morning (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:48:28 AM EST
    It's pathetic how betrayed all these bloggers feel.  If they hadn't lost all credibilty with me before this.......this morning finishes it off for me.  It is a waste of my time and day reading their blogservations from here on out.  If they can lack so much objectivity on all of this how can I trust their objectivity on anything else?  It was all fun though while it lasted.  And MSNBC, they can't be bothered with journalism anymore than FOX News felt they could be bothered with it four years ago.

    Another thought (5.00 / 6) (#12)
    by Lil on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:51:24 AM EST
    It seemed Obama was less than prepared and I think if he was more prepared he could have deflected these questions a lot easier and perhaps changed the trajectory of the debate quicker. I thought he seemed unsure of himself (because he was on defense) but should have had better, tighter answers, which may have ended the agony sooner and proven to us that he really can handle the heat...an important quality for POTUS. IMO.

    Not prepared, exactly. (none / 0) (#16)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:55:53 AM EST
    For debate, for GE and for presidency.  

    I am firmly in Hillary's camp (none / 0) (#17)
    by Lil on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:58:43 AM EST
    Having said that, Obama would be a much better president than Bush (an embarrasment to me) but Hillary is definitely more prepared.

    however (none / 0) (#26)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:13:12 AM EST
    the question is would he make a better president than McCain.
    its a much more interesting and complex question.
    I am honestly not sure.

    yes he would (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Lil on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:20:44 AM EST
    but we should want the best.

    I am being completely honest (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:24:53 AM EST
    when I say I am not entirely comfortable with Obama being in charge for the next four years.
    I dont think he has got it.  I just dont.  the world is circling the drain.  we need leadership.
    McCain is not Bush in spite of how the democrats will try to run against him. he takes global warming seriously he wants to close GitMo he doesnt want to export all brown people.
    its just not going to be that simple if Obama is the nominee.

    Obama and his followers (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:28:12 AM EST
    Remember they are a package.  Do you want a president with an unthinking mob on his side?   Frankly, I find the idea of Obama getting elected, not because of him, but his followers one of the scariest ideas.  Of course, he Obama will be focused on keeping the illusion of hope, unity and change.  So nothing will happen and the mob will defend it and purge or attack the critics.  I think it's a scary combination, for us a nation and the Democratic party.  

    indeed (none / 0) (#34)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:31:12 AM EST
    If Obama becomes President, he (none / 0) (#38)
    by MarkL on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:44:54 AM EST
    could do much worse damage to the Dem brand than if he loses. He is so unprepared for the job that he could be truly historic disaster, at least by Democratic standards.

    Why I am worried about an Obama presidency (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by angie on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:01:46 AM EST
    I am afraid it will be such a flop, like the Carter years, that we will be stuck with a 12 year streak of Republican presidencies afterward.  With Hillary, I am confident we will have until 2016 until the DNC can muck up another election.  

    Me too angie comment #43 (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by kenoshaMarge on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:35:01 AM EST
    We need to remember what happened to the Democratic Party after Carter. (And yes, I like and respect President Carter. That respect is getting just a tad tarnished by his silence about FL and MI.)

    Bill Clinton brought Democrats back to the White House. The elite and the Republicans did everything in their power to bring him and his presidency down.

    And Obama is continuing the tradition. For this, if for nothing else, I cannot support him.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#44)
    by cmugirl on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:15:17 AM EST
    for artfully articulating what I have been feeling all along - maybe Obama will win the nomination and actually win the election - but I think he will be so overwhelmed, his entire presidency will be a disaster and the Republicans will sweep in 4 years.

    I was talking to a co-worker yesterday who is a huge Obama supporter, but articulates his arguments rationally. He said that Obama already has smart advisors around him (many from the Bill Clinton administration) and will be able to help him in those areas where he is weaker than Hillary. Unfortunately for me, I only thought of a good response today (IMO):

    1. Hillary would also have good advisors around her, but,
    2. If something happens at 3 am, she will have the know-how to get plans in action while she waits for her advisors, while Obama would have to consult with all his advisors at 3 am before making a decision.

    Clear choice - I choose the one who can get things done.

    The media manipulation (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by magisterludi on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:55:42 AM EST
    is what we should all find alarming. There are no facts now, just opinion. I have become convinced there is more going on in the corporate media that has nothing to do with the public good and everything to do with fixing the election for the Powers That Be.

    I think there's plenty of empirical evidence swirling around not to cast me  as a paranoid conspirator, but a realistic observer.

    you and me both (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:58:47 AM EST
    personally I think they want Obama because they know McCain can beat him.

    Sorry, No Energy For Getting Upset Because ABC (5.00 / 7) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:02:03 AM EST
    did not stick with policy issues on Obama. First and foremost Obama's campaign has never been about policy issues. It has always been about his personal character and the questions asked in the debate were related to the very basis of his campaign. Who you CHOSE to associate with does relate to your judgement and character.

    Second, I agree with Boehlert. If these types of questions are fair game for Clinton, then they are fair game for Obama.

    Third, the things that were covered in the debate are just a small sample of what the Republicans have planned as their attack on Obama during the general and he better be able to deal with them more effectively then he did in the debate. The Republicans always telegraph their line of attack on the Democrats and ignoring it won't make it go away.

    Obama can't take the heat (none / 0) (#25)
    by madamab on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:11:38 AM EST
    in Hillary's Kitchen.

    Many of us have known this from the start.


    The Heat In Hillary's Kitchen Is A Low Simmer (none / 0) (#46)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:20:38 AM EST
    compared to the blast that will come out of the Republican's kitchen.  

    Coverage (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by kateNC on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:02:29 AM EST
    I thought BTD and Atrios this morning (last night he melted a bit but has overall been great)  were the fairest accounts among the big guys.

    Things have been so unpleasant at Daily Kos that I left and have found all these great new blogs. I used to love Daily Kos and had posted irregularly since 2003. The change on most of the progressive blogs has been incomprehensible to me.

    Also quit Countdown although he made me uncomfortable long before he went round the bend. His misogyny has been apparent from the beginning.

    One thing that has bothered me is that so many women have gone from Countdown to Faux News. I don't get this. Faux News isn't healthy.

    Unfair? (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by digdugboy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:40:15 AM EST
    Calling it fair or unfair ought to be way beside the point. What really happened here is that this "debate" was a lost opportunity for Hillary. What Hillary needs, and has needed all along, was to distinguish herself on policy. Her strength in this campaign is that she is the superior policy wonk.

    Instead, this idiotic debate focused on flag pins and Jeremiah Wright. Don't let your glee that Obama caught some flak, finally, blind you to the bigger point -- we all lose when out politica dialogue is reduced to flag pins and statements about how we all love our country so so much.

    However, the Obama camp itself has (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Radix on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:18:58 AM EST
    made character a central theme of their campaign. Obama and his supporters rarely, if ever, focus on Hillary's policies, it's almost always on how she is divisive and lacking in honesty and so forth. Although I do understand why Obama supporters would like to maintain this double standard, it still is a double standard.

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, Just data to be manipulated

    Don Henley-The Garden of Allah


    welcome to the general election (none / 0) (#37)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:42:19 AM EST
    Only thing to add (none / 0) (#48)
    by Marvin42 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:22:48 AM EST
    Is that Sen Clinton does not need to distinguish herself on policy at this point, but appeal to SDs on who is the more electable candidate. I noticed for the first 30 minutes or so she was talking to the SDs, and Sen Obama didn't catch on. Then he switched just as she started switching to PA, but it didn't really happen until later in the debate.

    Hillary WAS clearly superior on policy ... (none / 0) (#53)
    by cymro on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 12:12:32 PM EST
    ... last night, whenever policy questions were asked. But that alone would not have been enough to expose Obama's weaknesses as a politician and his unreadiness for the challenges of the GE campaign, or indeed, the Presidency. His stumbling performance last night cannot have been entirely lost on the voters yet to cast their votes or on the superdelegates.

    So IMO, if you believe that Hillary is the better choice, you should not be too upset about the mix of questions in last night's debate. I agree that, viewed objectively, some of them were ridiculous and a waste of time. But even so, I believe that those ridiculous questions served a political purpose, and did help Hillary get closer to winning the nomination.


    What? (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Andy08 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:58:14 AM EST
    BTD writes:
    ABC's performmance last night was truly horrendous.

    So asking Obama and to explain disdainful comments and so many of his horrendous associations and relationships is unfair??

    I don't think so. I need to listen to how he explain those and he etter explains them now before he
    is the nominee.

    ABC did its job and I was impressed by them.
    They were prepared and for ONCE Clinton got a fair
    deal ( she was NOT favored). Obama has lots of problems and the media has acted very irresponsibly by not addressing these at depth and seriously. ABC did what all media should do: its job!!

    Brilliant people (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:59:12 AM EST
    don't have to.  Their brilliance, according to Oprah, is all we need to be convinced of their qualifications.  

    Just call (none / 0) (#2)
    by kmblue on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:40:30 AM EST
    Greg Mitchell "Cinderella".
    He's been asleep prior to last night,
    but he's now been kissed by Obama
    and awakened.  Boy, is Greg mad!

    Darn it! (none / 0) (#4)
    by kmblue on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:43:59 AM EST
    I meant "Sleeping Beauty".
    I guess that would be me.  More coffee, please. ;)

    The media would be perfectly (none / 0) (#7)
    by Salo on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:47:21 AM EST
    justified to ignore Obama's entreaties to be fair to him.

    After he exploited their hatred for Clitnon they will eat him alive and call him a hypocrite for complaining.

    I don't think those questions (none / 0) (#29)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:23:01 AM EST
    will cost him the nomination.  The nomination is about Anybody But Clinton.  However, I think they'll cost him the election. And if they don't cost him the election, they'll cost him re-election.  And they'll cost Democrats a whole lot of Republican presidents after him.

    take heart (none / 0) (#31)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:25:28 AM EST
    its not over till its over.

    His handling of these kind of questions (none / 0) (#47)
    by Marvin42 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:20:56 AM EST
    Probably cost him a little support with SDs. This is exactly the light version of what he will face if he is the nominee. Will it be enough?

    I don't know what is up anymore.


    Isn't the outrage good news (none / 0) (#32)
    by waldenpond on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:27:48 AM EST
    I'm stuck on BTD's media darling theory and trying to view things through that concept.  The Obama support becomes more entrenched, they will be determined to slam the media for it, they will scream about the lack of issues and other media outlets will pick up on it and pass it around.

    Look at the titles on RCP...'Tough questions throw both off message' (Both, covers Obama), 'Clinton wins, barely, but will it matter' (No), 'In PA debate, the clear loser is ABC' (not Obama), 'Clinton uses sharp attacks' (picking on Obama).

    Obama has plenty of media out there neutralizing what happened last night.  Also, he is up in the national poll so that will give CNN and MSNBC something to focus on today.

    BTD's media darling status still holding this morning......

    well, if you want to (none / 0) (#56)
    by Chisoxy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 12:36:29 PM EST
    Look at things through the Media darling filter, you have to also account for McCain not being in part of the story. So againts media villain Hillary, he gets one or two friendly headlines and some ties. Now I dont think McCain wouldve been as sharp as Hillary, but he wouldnt have been as rattled as Obama. Media wouldnt be labeling McCain as attacking and pilling on.

    Missed the NBC debates (none / 0) (#35)
    by Dadler on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:39:41 AM EST
    Dude seems to have missed reality all around him.

    Crooks & Liars (none / 0) (#39)
    by OxyCon on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 10:48:43 AM EST
    ...posted two posts on how horrible ABC is, and one post of Keith Obamamann.

    I pointed out to them as civily as I could, that their bias is showing.

    I pointed out their (none / 0) (#51)
    by kenoshaMarge on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:44:59 AM EST
    bias several times and then gave up. It's their blog and they have a right to back anyone they want to back.

    What I find offensive is when they try to pretend to be "neutral". We may not all be as smart as some folks but unless we hit our heads real hard when we fell off the turnip truck, we can see its just not true.

    Nicolle Belle leads the hysteria by lamenting that "ABC is Hurting America!" Didn't seem to bother her when NBC did the same thing. Ethical behavior means fair play for all candidates Ms. Hissy-fit. Otherwise it tends to seem like hypocrisy.


    Here... (none / 0) (#54)
    by Oje on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 12:28:33 PM EST
    A person who proudly claims he did not watch debates throughout the entire process, now cries for media backlash against ABC. But, does this self-described media critic think it is ABC or the media at fault? of course not:

    Personally, while it would've been impossible for either candidate to look good while Charlie and George were gang raping democracy, I don't think Obama came off particularly badly. In the first half, which was supposed to be tough on him, I thought Clinton looked pretty uncomfortable with where her campaign had taken us.

    Another A-list blogger down the rabbit hole (or through the looking glass). Clinton is the Queen of Hearts.

    Link. (none / 0) (#55)
    by Oje on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 12:29:22 PM EST