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.
If what you say is fact... then war is inevitable.
not that it wasn’t completely freakin’ obvious from the outset, but it’s nice to have this smoking gun
We all suspected it. But to see these collaborative email between supposedly “independent” and “unbiased” propagandists is amazing. It’s amazing they’ve gotten away with it for so long. Bunch of hyprocritical pigs.
Great point...she has shown she's not afraid to call these scum out and this will help.
The media just can’t give it up - trying to bring Sarah down has been one BIG FAILURE! Therefore, she lives in their head 24/7.
GO unconventional SARAH! It’s your time and their time is over!
“like the internet equivalent of guys getting together at the bar, which theyve always done...”
The big difference is that these aren’t reporters “shooting the breeze” or “venting” these are planning sessions about strategies and tactics as “the unofficial campaign” for Obama.
This is not discussing both candidates and their pros and cons. This is blatant “undisclosed” advocacy. Their reports and articles should have come with the disclaimer...paid for by the Obama campaign.
Journolist = “the unofficial campaign”
Also Klein is a big name. He’s the one who wrote Primary Colors about Bill Clinton.
Mark this day, Jeffie and I agree.
“.....the co-ordinated attack on Sarah started on day one.....
......and continues to this day. Petty, childish rumor-monging that, sadly, many Americans believed.”
It started WAY BEFORE Gov. Palin emerged on the national scene thanks to the wildlife and envior whackos who were trashing her policy on aerial wolf hunts in Alaska and her hunting. The rest of the lame stream media just added to it.
But the majority of the country will never know this. It’s not like the alphabets or newspapers are going to report about themselves.
Ya, right. This is far beyond a couple of guys at a bar shooting the BS about Republican candidates. This is a coordinated effort by "self-proclaimed non-partisan" reporters on a national scale to create propaganda that helps Obama and hurts McCain/Palin. WE KNOW the press is incredibly biased and one-sided and these blog posts prove it.
Looks to have all the makings of a Fifth Column.
Whores, all of them... and TOTUS is the pimp.
I’m afraid this story will go nowhere. Who will report it for the average dolt American?
The leftist news media? Right.
They are barely annoyed at this outing. That is how safe and secure they feel in their outright propagandizing inormation in a free society.
It seems to me that a lawsuit could be brought regarding violations of Election Laws by the “unofficial campaign”. All donations must be reported by the candidate. Obama/Biden received contributions-in-kind from the unofficial campaign and surely never reported them. In discovery all these left-wing “newsies” would be called to testify. The fit would hit the shan.
One second into Day One of Sarah's mayoral tenure at Wasilla exceeded 0bama's level of executive experience.
And we pay for that gross error by the American electorate with each passing day.
I agree. They set out to destroy a good, decent, genuine, patriot, mom and governor, and they did a very ugly job of it. That Sarah prevailed, speaks volumes about her.
Go Sarah 2012! God bless and protect her and her precious family.
Hmmm, I wonder!
I’m old enough to remember what they did to Goldwater, and there was no Journolist then. Watergate the same.