McCain, Obama & the press corps

David Broder makes an observation:

“McCain benefits from a long-established reputation as a man who says what he believes,” writes Broder. “His shifts in position that have occurred in this campaign seem not to have damaged that aura." (emphasis in blog post)

Gee, could it be that the press corps is carrying McCain's water for him? Could it be that the press corps is doing its best to cover for their man and are determined NOT to cover his many flip-flops? Broder goes on to observe that Obama "has tapped into a rich vein of small contributors using the Internet" while poor, poor John McCain (*Sob!* Weep! Wail!) "has lagged all year in his private fundraising." Broder then suggests that townhall-style debates would help the "credibility of the election process." The same blog post notes that Broder didn't seem very concerned about the "credibility of the election process" when it came to the Voter ID case in Indiana, where nuns in their 80s and 90s, lifelong voters, were prevented from voting because they didn't have photo IDs. Broder seems to have a highly selective concern for the "credibility of the election process." Sometimes, when credibility is sacrificed and it helps Republicans, no biggie. But when it helps Democrats, we get all sorts of tsk-tsking.

Media Matters has a piece on how Obama and McCain are covered by the press corps when it comes to campaign finance laws.

John McCain said he would take public financing for the Republican primaries. Then he used the promise of that public financing to help secure a loan for his campaign. Then, after he wrapped up the Republican nomination, he abruptly decided he did not want to be bound by the limits on campaign fundraising and spending that accompany public financing, so he announced that he had changed his mind.
But Federal Election Commission chairman David Mason sent McCain a letter saying that he cannot unilaterally opt out of the public financing system without FEC approval -- a letter the McCain campaign ignored. If McCain cannot opt out of the system unilaterally, he has broken the law by raising and spending funds in excess of legal limits, and continues to do so each day. Even if McCain isn't breaking the law, he has already broken his word and "reversed himself" on the question of whether he would take public funding for the primaries.

This history got a passing mention on ABC and NBC News, but neither station went into any detail and both quickly went on to other subjects without dwelling what McCain's on-again, off-again relationship with the public campaign-financing system meant. Other news sources didn't cover it at all.

One of the reasons Obama claims that he wants to stay outside the public financing system is so that he can respond to attacks from 527s (The Swift Boat Veterans who successfully attacked John Kerry and dominated the news in August 2004 were a 527 group). The AP, The Politico and the Washington Post all claim that there are no 527s currently attacking Obama. Obviously, these organizations do not have very good news-reporting staffs, because Media Matters identifies Freedom's Watch and Vets for Freedom as being 527s that are currently attacking Obama.

And this one's actually pretty funny. A conservative blog post screams out the headline "Obama Would Be A Clinton Third Term" 1!!1!! Umm, okay. And for America to get a relatively peaceful presidential term and an economic boom and a reasonably corruption-free government would be a bad thing? Seems to me that by far the worst thing about things under Clinton were all the attacks by Republicans!


Anonymous said...

Media Matters is the outlet that didn't do their homework. Freedom's Watch and Vets for Freedom are both C(4) not 527's

Rich Gardner said...

I wrote to Media Matters about this and they have yet to respond. Sure enough, as the commenter says, Vets for Freedom lists itself as a "nonpartisan 501(c)(4) organization" and Freedom's Watch lists itself as "a nonprofit corporation and operated in a manner consistent with section 501(c)(4)."