Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tensed Verbs - McCain Campaign Conference Call

My esteemed RedState colleague, absentee posted a fine write-up about the conference call fight a bunch of reporters had, on behalf of Obama, with Senator Jon Kyl and McCain's senior foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann:

The call was regarding a small dust-up with the Obama camp over a statement Senator McCain made on the campaign trail yesterday. "I can tell you that it is succeeding. I can look you in the eye and tell you it's succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr city are quiet and it's long and it's hard and it's tough and there will be setbacks."

The Obama campaign is making this out to be a significant error in the facts.

[. . .]

Most of the questions on the call related to, and excessively used the phrase "verb tenses." Reporters pressed for an admission of guilt, and the campaign firmly continued to point out that the underlying point Senator McCain made was fundamentally correct: that the surge has worked, and that as a result, surge troops have been assigned to return home.

Scheunemann made the excellent point that Senator Obama claims this kind of politicking is obsolete, that it is more important to focus on the heart of an issue than the superficial tit for tat of campaigns past. Yet here he is, sending out John Kerry (John Kerry, Senator? Seriously?) to latch onto "verb tense" to try and paint McCain as not in possession of the facts about Iraq.

Still, the point was pressed again and again. And again. Verb tenses. Verb Tenses? Verb Tenses! Verb tenses?! Verb. Ten. Ses. The press seems eager to join the Obama campaign's point of view, which basically amounts to "nevermind about the surge, what is today's date?"

At Politico, Ben Smith also covered the call.

I wasn't going to add my two cents to this, but I can't get over my impression of just how far the mainstream media reporters went to support Obama in this conference call fight.

For example, because Kyl and Scheunemann, defended McCain, Michael Dobbs decided to give the campaign three Pinocchios.

I've been on many campaign conference calls during this election and this is the first time that I found any mainstream media reporter to be as disrespectful or as darn right insulting as I did Mr. Dobbs.

Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press was able to ask polite questions and write a balanced article. So did Scott Helman. I don't understand what got into Mr. Dobbs.

I also wonder why it required dogged attention from bloggers, before Mr. Dobbs decided Obama's Auschwitz "error" merited any mainstream media coverage. And why the mainstream media still, after more than five years, says nothing about Obama's Treblinka "error."

I'm fond of referring to the mainstream media as the biased media wing of the Democrat Party, but still.

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