Skip to comments.When McCain picked Palin, liberal journalists coordinated the best line of attack
Posted on 07/22/2010 3:28:53 AM PDT by iowamark
In the hours after Sen. John McCain announced his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate in the last presidential race, members of an online forum called Journolist struggled to make sense of the pick. Many of them were liberal reporters, and in some cases their comments reflected a journalists instinct to figure out the meaning of a story.
But in many other exchanges, the Journolisters clearly had another, more partisan goal in mind: to formulate the most effective talking points in order to defeat Palin and McCain and help elect Barack Obama president. The tone was more campaign headquarters than newsroom.
The conversation began with a debate over how best to attack Sarah Palin. Honestly, this pick reeks of desperation, wrote Michael Cohen of the New America Foundation in the minutes after the news became public. How can anyone logically argue that Sarah Pallin [sic], a one-term governor of Alaska, is qualified to be President of the United States? Train wreck, thy name is Sarah Pallin.
Not a wise argument, responded Jonathan Stein, a reporter for Mother Jones. If McCain were asked about Palins inexperience, he could simply point to then candidate Barack Obamas similarly thin resume. Q: Sen. McCain, given Gov. Palins paltry experience, how is she qualified to be commander in chief?, Stein asked hypothetically. A: Well, she has much experience as the Democratic nominee.
What a joke, added Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker. I always thought that some part of McCain doesnt want to be president, and this choice proves my point. Welcome back, Admiral Stockdale.
Daniel Levy of the Century Foundation noted that Obamas non-official campaign would need to work hard to discredit Palin. This seems to me like an occasion when the non-official campaign has a big role to play in defining Palin, shaping the terms of the conversation and saying things that the official [Obama] campaign shouldnt say very hard-hitting stuff, including some of the things that people have been noting here scare people about having this woefully inexperienced, no foreign policy/national security/right-wing christia wing-nut a heartbeat away bang away at McCains age making this unusually significant . I think people should be replicating some of the not-so-pleasant viral email campaigns that were used against [Obama].
Ryan Donmoyer, a reporter for Bloomberg News who was covering the campaign, sent a quick thought that Palins choice not to have an abortion when she unexpectedly became pregnant at age 44 would likely boost her image because it was a heartwarming story.
Her decision to keep the Downs baby is going to be a hugely emotional story that appeals to a vast swath of America, I think, Donmoyer wrote.
Politico reporter Ben Adler, now an editor at Newsweek, replied, but doesnt leaving sad baby without its mother while she campaigns weaken that family values argument? Or will everyone be too afraid to make that point?
Blogger Matt Yglesias sent out a new post thread with the subject, The line on Palin.
John McCain picked someone to help him politically, Barack Obama picked someone to help him govern, Yglesias wrote.
Ed Kilgore, managing editor of the Democratic Strategist blog, argued that journalists and others trying to help the Obama campaign should focus on Palins beliefs. The criticism of her really, really needs to be ideological, not just about experience. If we concede shes a maverick, we will have done John McCain an enormous service. And lets dont concede the claim that [Hillary Clinton] supporters are likely to be very attracted to her, Kilgore said.
Amidst this debate over how most effectively to destroy Palins reputation, reporter Avi Zenilman, who was then writing about the campaign for Politico, chimed in to note that Palin had openly backed parts of Obamas energy plan. In an interview Wednesday, Zenilman said he was offering typical offhand political analysis and that Journolist was one of many online places he scoured for news to post to his blog.
Chris Hayes of the Nation wrote in with words of encouragement, and to ask for more talking points. Keep the ideas coming! Have to go on TV to talk about this in a few min and need all the help I can get, Hayes wrote.
Suzanne Nossel, chief of operations for Human Rights Watch, added a novel take: I think it is and can be spun as a profoundly sexist pick. Women should feel umbrage at the idea that their votes can be attracted just by putting a woman, any woman, on the ticket no matter her qualifications or views.
Mother Joness Stein loved the idea. Thats excellent! If enough people people on this list? write that the pick is sexist, youll have the networks debating it for days. And that negates the SINGLE thing Palin brings to the ticket, he wrote.
Another writer from Mother Jones, Nick Baumann, had this idea: Say it with me: Classic GOP Tokenism.
Kilgore wasnt sold: I STRONGLY think the immediate task is to challenge the maverick bullshit about Palin, which everybody on the tube is echoing. Ill say it one more time: Palin is a hard-core conservative ideologue in every measurable way.
Zenilman of Politico, a purportedly nonpartisan journalist, weighed in with tactical advice: The experience attack is a stupid one. Its absolutely the wrong tack the tack that McCain took when he was losing, and that Hillary and Biden took all primaries.
Joe Klein of Time stopped by with an update on the latest from his magazine: Were reporting that she actually supported the bridge to nowhere. First flub?
Klein, who displayed an independent streak in other circumstances (anybody who knows me knows I do my own thinking, he said in a Wednesday interview), seemed to exude more partisanship that day than usual.
As the morning wore on into the afternoon, some on Journolist came to believe the Palin pick had been shrewd. Palin was coming off as appealing and a maverick, they worried.
Okay, lets get deadly serious, folks. Grating voice or not, inexperienced or not, Sarah Palins just been introduced to the country as a brave, above-party, oil-company-bashing, pork-hating maverick outsider, Kilgore said, What we can do is to expose her ideology.
Ryan Avent, then blogging for the Economist and now an editor there, agreed that criticizing Palins experience might not work. I really dont think the experience argument needs to be made by the Dems. Its completely obvious to any reasonable person. Instead, hammer away at the fact that she has terrible positions on things like choice, and on the fact that she has no ideas on the issues important to people, he wrote.
Journolists founder Ezra Klein, now a blogger at the Washington Post, reached an entirely different conclusion: I see no reason to attack Palin. I think you accurately describe Palin and attack McCain. Klein linked to an article he had written for the American Prospect that calmly described Palins thin resume.
Times Joe Klein then linked to his own piece, parts of which he acknowledged came from strategy sessions on Journolist. Heres my attempt to incorporate the accumulated wisdom of this august list-serve community, he wrote. And indeed Kleins article contained arguments developed by his fellow Journolisters. Klein praised Palin personally, calling her fresh and delightful, but questioned her militant ideology. He noted Palin had endorsed parts of Obamas energy proposal.
That was all on the day of the announcement.
Once again, the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy theory is proven true. Isn't the above exactly what happened in every "mainstream" media outlet? You might be able to argue that the so-called impartial media outlets didn't have reporters on Journolist, but you have to admit that they all followed this playbook to the letter.
Daniel Levy of the Century Foundation noted that Obamas non-official campaign would need to work hard to discredit Palin. This seems to me like an occasion when the non-official campaign has a big role to play in defining Palin, shaping the terms of the conversation and saying things that the official [Obama] campaign shouldnt say very hard-hitting stuff, including some of the things that people have been noting here scare people about having this woefully inexperienced, no foreign policy/national security/right-wing christia wing-nut a heartbeat away
It’s beginning to look more like the internet equivalent of guys getting together at the bar, which they’ve always done, I’m sure. The big name here, as far as I’m concerned is Toobin, who’s not only New Yorker but CNN, and with his law degree , ran major interference for Obama on the COLB, when Factcheck “endorsed its authenticity.” I’d like to see how journolist coordinated that one, like the on-going failure to acknowledge the redacted certificate # and the obvious fact that the COLB is not a birth certificate. HOW do they keep the network newsanchors from even asking those questions?
Apart from being positively tyrannical, this seems so . . . childish. And sad.
“I may disagree with what you have to say, bt I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” is a dead leter.
Many on the left are not interested in having a constitutional republic. They want a “brave new world” in which the elites control. Didn’t Thomas Friedman lament that we don’t have China’s system?
And yet, do we only know 75 of the 400 members? I wonder how many were big network producers, on the list and taking ideas but not thought leaders offering them.
Turns out it was a listserv and the journalists were creating the Democrat Talking Points on their own.
Indisputable evidence that that the Vast Left Wing Media Conspiracy is hard at work to manipulate our future.
The Free Press are abject traitors to this country and prostitutes to their craft.
Please, when posting articles from the JournoList organizations, include the trademark tag after their name: Ex. By Joe Klein, JournoList
That's coming ~ many of these pukes should be prepared for self-immolation 'cause that's the ONLY THING that will save them from total personal destruction.
So far, though, we have 65 people talking around that approach ~ they're finding weaknesses in everything but not that one ~ it's in there and all we need to do is find it.
The attacks began a journo-second after the rumor surfaced that he had selected her. I remember hearing this as we were waiting for the announcement:
Rumor has it that John McCain has selected Governor Sarah Palin, mayor of a small Alaskan town, to be his running mate.
The leftist are AND HAVE BEEN playing major league baseball... steele and the rnc are playing T-ball and are STILL flinching when they swing.
I think a more apt analogy is that the Republitards have been playing Candyland while the National Socialist Democratic Workers Party have been playing Three Dimensional Chess.
Wow, this just keeps getting better. It is a really sad testimony about the state of journalism these days.
A far cry from the golden era when most reporters were working class and worked their way up from the police beat. Now they are just scum.
just damn them. I hope an article a day comes out about the systematic, trumped-up teardown of this woman and is BLASTED across the internet and tv screens. SHINE THAT LIGHT, drive those cockroaches out where they can be stepped on. They ARE the story now.
Trust is earned... you have lost ALL that we had in you... you may never re-earn it... I do not think that you care.
My mom, now in a nursing home, was a newspaper reporter. Back in the days when reporters weren’t necessarily graduates of journalism school. Many of them started, like my mom did, as concerned citizens who noted that there were some fishy things going on. It began by feeding information and questions to the grizzled guy (picture a Lou Grant type) on the newsdesk. Eventually, the newsdesk guy would add these kinds of folks to his staff as correspondents, who did the “grunt work” on the ground, the fact gathering and verifying. That is how my mom’s career began.
The big myth today is this “new media.” Everything old is new again, however. The only thing that makes this media “new” is the fact that the internet exists and can bypass disinterested established media sources via blogs, etc. That is the only thing that is different. So many of the new media types we know started out the same way my mom did; as concerned citizens. In the days of our Founding, they would have been handing out self-published leaflets on the town square.
If my mom had full control of her faculties right now, she would be enraged at what is going on in what passes for journalism these days.
In all the years she did her job, at no time, on no day did I ever overhear her on the phone conspiring with another reporter over what their “take” on a story would be. Mind you, 75% of her work was done over the phone, conducting interviews, follow up to public meetings, etc. This was at our home, so we could hear all of it (at least her end).
She would be simply speechless if she heard this stuff.