Friday, September 12, 2008

The Media and The Hubris of Hope?

There has been a lot of reaction to Charlie Gibson's interview of Sarah Palin, some of it claiming that Gibson was less than evenhanded and even condescending.

Jay Nordlinger makes that point, also noting that

Charlie Gibson, dripping with condescension, said, “And you didn’t say to yourself, ‘Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I — will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?’” Palin answered, “I didn’t hesitate, no.”

Look, if a Charlie Gibson type had talked that way in 1984, to Ferraro, he would have been flayed for condescension. (Remember when Vice President Bush said to her, in debate, “Let me help you with that, Mrs. Ferraro”? He was flayed.) But Palin’s a conservative — so no problem. The usual feminist chorus won’t object.

Then Gibson said to her, “Didn’t that take some hubris?” Obviously, the man does not know what the word “hubris” means. But a reader of ours had a sharp point: In Obama’s camp, they call it “audacity.”
But claims that the media is in the tank are only buttressed by things like this:
John Roberts interviewing Paul Begala on CNN just now slipped and said "we" when asking how Democrats should respond to Republican attacks.
The Washington Post this morning, however, takes the cake:

And apparently it is a red letter day at the Post. As Bill Kristol details, the paper’s same page one also has an invented Sarah Palin “gaffe” on Iraq. The Post writes:

Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would “defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.”

The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself.

However, the most logical reading of her actual words is not that she was ascribing responsibilty for 9-11 to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, but that she was praising the troops for fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq which of course is not just linked to, but is the very group, which was responsible for 9-11.

Aside from the fact Palin didn’t say or likely infer anything similar to what the Post reporter alleges (that Iraq is linked to 9-11), it’s a perfectly acceptable topic for a story. It involves someone on the ballot.

Note: After Kristol’s posting appeared late last night, the Post added this line to the second paragraph above in its story:

“But it is widely agreed that militants allied with al-Qaeda have taken root in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.”

Did the Post have second thoughts about their reporter’s mindreading tactics? Did the editor realize that Palin might actually have been praising the troops for fighting Al Qaeda? Nevertheless, the Post’s quick edit doesn’t really solve the problem. The inference — utterly unsupported –remains that Palin is spinning a discredited tale. (Moreover by leaving the rest of the piece as is, the article now is rather incomprehensible. Does the Post still mean to accuse Palin of telling tale tales?)

There is a tall tale being told alright – and it’s not coming from Sarah Palin.

The media seems to be very hopeful that Obama wins--and is not afraid to show it.
And that is hubris.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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