Roger Simon apologizes on behalf of the media

Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 10:09 am
OK, I don't usually do this, but this could have gone in about 25 different threads and I didn't want to just put a link somewhere. This is GOOD.

Roger Simon wrote:
On behalf of the media, I would like to say we are sorry.

On behalf of the elite media, I would like to say we are very sorry.

We have asked questions this week that we should never have asked.

We have asked pathetic questions like: Who is Sarah Palin? What is her record? Where does she stand on the issues? And is she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

We have asked mean questions like: How well did John McCain know her before he selected her? How well did his campaign vet her? And was she his first choice?

Bad questions. Bad media. Bad.

It is not our job to ask questions. Or it shouldn’t be. To hear from the pols at the Republican National Convention this week, our job is to endorse and support the decisions of the pols.

Sarah Palin hit the nail on the head Wednesday night (and several in the audience wish she had hit some reporters on the head instead) when she said: “I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.”

But where did we go wrong with Sarah Palin? Let me count the ways:

First, we should have stuck to the warm, human interest stuff like how she likes mooseburgers and hit an important free throw at her high school basketball tournament even though she had a stress fracture.

Second, we should have stuck to the press release stuff like how she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere (after she supported it).

Third, we should never have strayed into the other stuff. Like when The Washington Post recently wrote: “Palin is under investigation by a bipartisan state legislative body. … Palin had promised to cooperate with the legislative inquiry, but this week she hired a lawyer to fight to move the case to the jurisdiction of the state personnel board, which Palin appoints.”

Why go there? What trees does that plant?

Fourth, we should stop making with all the questions already. She gave a really good speech. And why go beyond that? As we all know, speeches cannot be written by others and rehearsed for days. They are true windows to the soul.

Unless they are delivered by Barack Obama, that is. In which case, as Palin said Wednesday, speeches are just a “cloud of rhetoric.”

Fifth, we should stop reporting on the families of the candidates. Unless the candidates want us to.

Sarah Palin wanted the media to report on her teenage son, Track, who enlisted in the Army on Sept. 11, 2007, and soon will deploy to Iraq.

Sarah Palin did not want the media to report on her teenage daughter, Bristol, who is pregnant and unmarried.

Sarah Palin thinks that one is good for her campaign and one is not, and that the media should report only on what is good for her campaign. That is our job, and that is our duty. If that is not actually in the Constitution, it should be. (And someday may be.)

The official theme of the convention’s third day was “prosperity,” but the unofficial theme was “the media are really, really awful.”

Even Mike Huckabee, who campaigned for president this year by saying “I am a conservative, but I am not mad at anybody,” discovered Wednesday night that he is mad at somebody.

“I’d like to thank the elite media for doing something,” Huckabee said, “that, quite frankly, I didn’t think could be done: unify the Republican party and all of America in support of John McCain and Sarah Palin.”

And could that be the real point of the attacks on the media? To unify the Republican Party?

No, that is simply the cynical, media view.

Though as Lily Tomlin says, “No matter how cynical I get, it’s just never enough to keep up.”

I couldn’t resist that. For which I am sorry.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 2,539 • Replies: 37

cicerone imposter
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 10:34 am
This is the party that wanted to hang Bill Clinton for having a sexual encounter with a consenting adult, but now believes it's okay to have a baby without marriage and in her teens.
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 10:35 am
Hahha, I just posted this in the Palin Lies thread to see if you had seen it!

I'm just going to assume you've seen everything before I have from now on, lol

Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 10:41 am
Yeah, just saw that...!

You were right, I love it. Gets at the heart of several different issues at once.

Don't assume anything though...! If I've been away from the computer for a while I usually come to A2K first because it's a shortcut to the most interesting news. I'm preparing for a visitor so I'm trying to get a bunch of hours in at my job, and of course Palin is the big story.
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 10:42 am
I think I may have figure out where you work, by a clue you dropped the other day, btw. If you are interested in keeping it secret, be careful!

Robert Gentel
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 10:43 am
Playing off their bias as just an attempt to get to the bottom of something is deeply disingenuous. They were in tar and feather mode as soon as the name came out and certainly didn't restrict themselves to these questions he's pretending the criticism is about.
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 10:44 am
Oh, OK... mostly I want to stick within the TOS and not advertise (since I'm an employee...) Will be more careful.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 10:46 am
@Robert Gentel,
Who's "they," though?
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 12:20 pm
This is bullshit. Ask everything you want about who she is...Roger Simon knows this. The whole piece is a ploy to divert attention from their sexism and their attack on her daughter's sexual behavior. They followed twilight zone Enquirer crap about a faked pregnancy... Deplorable!
Robert Gentel
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 12:44 pm
The same "they" that Obama was talking about when he criticized the low attempts to smear Palin.

This defense against the criticism is disingenuous because it pretends the criticism was aimed at journalists merely trying to get to the bottom of the candidate's positions, when there was also a decidedly low attempt to lynch her.
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Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 03:57 pm
@cicerone imposter,
This is the party that wanted to hang Bill Clinton for having a sexual encounter with a consenting adult, but now believes it's okay to have a baby without marriage and in her teens.

As far as I know, the candidate is neither unmarried and having a child in her teens, nor saying that she thinks it is ok to do so.

Are you seriously advocating that she cast her daughter from her?

And, while I think that all the issues the article discusses are reasonable issues of concern, there is a goddam elephant in the room that the article does NOT discuss, and that is the stuff that was focused on that had NOTHING to do with the candidate's credentials...the alleged "not her baby" stuff.

And, while I agree that she has rather untastefully attempted to use her children in her campaign (a concept that is a completely foreign one to American campaigning, right Rolling Eyes ) and that she has, herself, therefore opened her family up to some scrutiny, I think that the crap about "how can she lok at such a job when she has five children" has been grossly sexist and disgusting.

So...I do NOT think the US press has an easy high ground to speak from here, and I find the article disingenuous in not addressing the meat of the accusations against the press.

Edit: Oh crap...that's already been said I see now.
cicerone imposter
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 04:10 pm
It's not so much about the candidate as it is about the republican party; they call themselves the moral majority. Get it?
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 04:16 pm
@cicerone imposter,

You are seriously suggesting that Republicans ought to be able to impose their will upon their children's behaviour with 100% success, or they are no good? I assume you therefore expect that of others as well?

What exactly, given that, amazingly enough Palin's daughter had a mind of her own and made an adolescent not absolutely wise choice (I am sure no adolescent children of people with more progressive politics ever do that, right?) are you suggesting that Palin ought to have done in response to her daughter's pregnancy? In order to be moral and all?

Don't get me wrong, I dislike Palin's politics greatly...but I think the kind of attack you are making is ridiculous.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 05:43 pm
There's an awful lot of 'they' being thrown around with due consideration as to who 'they' are. McCain got a free ride for for too long, why, I don't have the foggiest.

As soon as a politician starts with the barbecues and the beer and the glad handing, the press should have taken a big step back and looked at the man. He's all slick and slime, ask him any tough question and he folds like a tent.

September 3, 2008 2:04
Angry Amateurs
Posted by Joe Klein

The story of the day out here in Minneapolis is the McCain campaign's war against the press. This has been building for some time. Those of us who have criticized the candidate--and especially those of us who enjoyed good relations with McCain in the past--have been subject to off-the-record browbeating and attempted bullying all year. But things have gotten much worse in recent days: there was McCain's rude, bizarre interview with Time Magazine last week. Yesterday, McCain refused to an interview with Larry King, for God's sake, because Campbell Brown had been caught in the commission of journalism on CNN the night before, asking McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds what decisions Sarah Palin had made as commander-in-chief of the Alaska national guard. (There was an answer that the unprepared Bounds didn't have: she had deployed them to fight fires.)

So what's going on here? Two things. McCain is just plain angry at us. By the evidence presented in the utterly revealing Time interview, he's ballistic. This is a politician who needs to see himself as the man on the white horse, boldly traversing a muddy field...any intimations that he's gotten muddied in the process, or has decided to throw mud, are intolerable.

The second thing is more insidious: Steve Schmidt has decided, for tactical reasons, to slime the press. He wants the public to believe that there is an unfair--sexist (you gotta love it)--personal assault going on against Palin and her family. This is a smokescreen, intended to divert attention from the very real and responsible vetting that is taking place in the media--about the substance of Palin's record as mayor and governor. Sure, there are a few outliers--and the tabloid press--who have fixed on baby stories. That was inevitable....the flip side of the personal stories that the McCain team thought would work to their advantage--Palin's moose-hunting and wolf-shooting, and her admirable decision to have a Down Syndrome baby. And yes, when we all fix on the same story, whether it's a hurricane or a little-known politician, a zoo ensues. But the media coverage of the Palin story has been well within the bounds of responsibility. Schmidt is trying to make it seem otherwise, a desperate tactic.

There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God." The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.

Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 05:14 am
Yeah, that's part of what I was getting at by asking who "they" is. This is another:

Josh Marshall wrote:
When he's right, he's right. Chris Matthews is, as I write, whacking away at the GOP spinners claiming all the press criticism saying Sarah Palin shouldn't be vice president because she's the mother of young children. Who said that?

As far as I can tell -- and I'm willing to look at exceptions, may have just missed them -- the scurrilous stuff was limited to the likes of the Daily Kos. Andrew Sullivan took up the fake-pregnancy rumor in terms of assuming it was false but asking the McCain campaign to put the kibosh on it already.

Dr. Laura and miscellaneous regular people (not journalists) are the ones who've been talking about Sarah Palin's motherhood disqualifying her for the presidency.

I'm sure that there are outposts -- the "likes of Daily Kos" -- but the plain ol' regular mainstream media that Steve Schmidt and Sarah Palin are lighting into* actually did a pretty good job... for once! They didn't just take the campaign press materials and nod and smile and regurgitate, they went ahead and investigated. The Washington Post has been one of the best there -- not really known for its liberal, Republican-bashing ways.

She's an unknown. It's eminently fair to question her. Because she went from 0-60 in 2 seconds, a lot of organizations are questioning her at once, and there's an appearance of jumping on her. But how else should it be handled, really? "Oh, the NYT is on it so my news organization will just hang back and see what they have to say"? Or "gee, this must be stressful for her, I'll go ahead and wait a couple of weeks before really investigating"?

There definitely is a money-grubbing, bottom-line aspect -- everyone wants that scoop! But again I don't really see the alternative. I WANT those legitimate journalistic questions to be asked. They've all been asked of Obama -- it's just that his roll-out was much more gradual. A possible candidate to a long-shot candidate to a maybe candidate to an oh-my-god-he-can-maybe-do-it candidate (and that's when the coverage got way tougher, suddenly) to a wow he really has a chance candidate to he's the candidate -- that took almost two years. All of that is being condensed into days/ weeks re: Palin.

* Can get sources re: Steve Schmidt and Palin's allegations, since they're kind of central to this and a big part of what Simon is responding to. This, which I have on my screen (I'm here for just a bit) is somewhat related:

Jake Tapper wrote:
]Palin Accuses 'Obama/Biden Democrats' of Attacking Her Family, But Campaign Can't Name One

September 04, 2008 8:05 PM

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin sent out a fundraising solicitation today that charged that "the Obama/Biden Democrats have been vicious in their attacks directed toward me, my family and John McCain."

I asked spokespeople of the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee just which "Obama/Biden Democrats" they're referring to.

The response I got was that Obama spokesman Mark Bubriski erroneously attacked Palin as a supporter of Pat Buchanan.

That's it. That's the evidence.

An attack on Palin herself.

In other words, they can't name one person affiliated with the Obama-Biden campaign who attacked the Palin family.

Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 05:24 am
OK, it wasn't as hard to find as I expected so more on Schmidt:

Either McCain's vetting process was a complete sham. Or his press operation is the worst in modern presidential politics history. Or some unholy blend of both.

Campbell Brown isn't the story - people are underestimating her, as they always have. No, the story is that Tucker Bounds went on national television without material to answer what is maybe the simplest, most straightforward follow-up question any reporter can ask: "What's your evidence for that assertion?" And I suspect that the reason they canceled Larry King is not to punish CNN (it doesn't work that way) it's that they still couldn't come up with an answer to the question by the time his show aired.

Now look at this comment from McCain honcho Steve Schmidt to Katie Couric last night: "Members of this campaign went to off-the-record lunches with reporters today, and they were asked if she would do paternity tests to prove paternity for her last child. Smear after smear after smear, and it's disgraceful and it's wrong. And the American people are going to reject it overwhelmingly when they see her."

First of all, that's the first time I've heard anyone in the campaign/political press throw out the notion of paternity tests. So Schmidt is to blame for bringing that issue into the mainstream. If anyone is smearing the candidate, it's Schmidt. This is as cynical a tactic as I've ever seen in politics.

Secondly, how can it be a "smear" if it was during an off the record lunch with McCain campaign aides?

Thirdly, hey, colleagues, you're on notice: Steve Schmidt does not respect "off the record." Watch your backs, my friends.


More on Schmidt's accusations:

Howard Kurtz wrote:
The McCain camp has been unusually aggressive in pushing back against the media, and it seems to hope to persuade journalists to back off in their scrutiny of Palin. Obama campaign officials have complained to news organizations that their man has been subjected to considerably more investigative reporting than McCain has, but they have done so in more low-key fashion.

By contrast, Schmidt spoke on the record in denouncing as "an absolute work of fiction" a New York Times account of the process by which the McCain campaign vetted Palin. He also charged that Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman was predicting that the governor might have to step down as McCain's vice presidential choice.

Fineman said that he has "never, ever said that," and that he has pointed out positive aspects of Palin's candidacy. "They decided a long time ago that they were going to work the refs," he said.

Elisabeth Bumiller, the lead author of the Times report, said she is "completely confident about the story." As for the campaign's criticism, she said: "This is what they do. It's part of their operation."


Schmidt is talking about the NYT's story about the vetting process here... he's not just talking about pregnancy rumors. That's very much what Simon is responding to.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 06:08 am
You could start with the "they" of radio host Ed Schultz (he used the term "bimbo alert" when referring to Palin.), or CNN’s John Roberts who stated (on air) “Children with Down’s syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of vice president, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?” or Sally Quinn of the Washington Post who stated in her column “Her first priority has to be her children, when the phone rings at 3 in the morning and one of her children is really sick what choice will she make?”.

Are CNN and the Washington Post not "media"?
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 07:19 am
Those are attacks on her family?

They look like questions about Palin. "Sexist" questions perhaps in the case of Quinn, but isn't Quinn a columnist?
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 07:20 am
Outside of Ed Schultz (who is that anyway?) John Roberts and Sally Quinn have posed legitimate questions. It's a fact that she has a newborn with Down's syndrome. Is that supposed to be ignored and dismissed as unimportant and inconsequential? Get real. She put herself out there. There are these questions and many more to be asked and they should be answered.
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 11:29 am
eoe wrote:

Outside of Ed Schultz (who is that anyway?) John Roberts and Sally Quinn have posed legitimate questions. It's a fact that she has a newborn with Down's syndrome. Is that supposed to be ignored and dismissed as unimportant and inconsequential? Get real. She put herself out there. There are these questions and many more to be asked and they should be answered.

Ed Shultz is a syndicated radio program host and frequent guest on several quasi-news shows (Larry King, "Hardball with Cris Mathews", etc..)

How are the questions pose d by Roberts and Quinn "legitimate"? Are they asking how Obama would manage the Presidency if it turns out that one of his kids needs braces or comes down with the Chicken Pox?

When John Edwards was still in the race I don't recall any of them asking how he was going the manage his duties as president (if he was elected...) if his wife had a recurrance of cancer.

Sorry, they aren't "legitimate" by any means. They're absolute bullshit questions and people that ask them should be told to STFU. The assumption that she, being a woman and mother, is the only person that can deal with issues with her child is blatently sexist.

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