Work the refs even harder

One of the best books of the last 20 years was Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? which pointed out just how strongly the Republican party and the right have been going after the media as a whole, and how they've responded by becoming, in some cases, the attack dog of the right simply by insisting on a false sense of balance in their stories. We've gotten so used to seeing "Side A says, Side B says" that many don't even question it anymore. (Perlstein's Nixonland covers the origins of this strategy a bit--I'm almost done with that book, and it's a killer, too.)

So I'm glad to see some pushback from the Obama campaign.

(CNN) — Barack Obama said Thursday that the controversy over how whether Hillary Clinton’s delegates would be able to vote for her at the Democratic convention in Denver was a media creation — and that he hopes his upcoming vacation helps cure any “Obama fatigue” among voters.
That's exactly the point that a lot of people in the liberal/progressive blog world have been making for years--that pretty much any "controversy" about personalities or divisions in the Democratic party are media creations--Howard Dean is crazy, John Kerry is a flip-flopper, Hillary Clinton is a bitch, John Edwards spends a lot of money on haircuts, Barack Obama is the Messiah, and the best one of all, that disaffected Clinton supporters are going to vote for John McCain.

There are, no doubt, some people who will do just that, but the idea that they're in large enough numbers to sway this election, especially at this point, is ludicrous. As Jesse points out, except for one outlier, McCain hasn't held a lead in a non-tracking poll since May 16, and that was in the hottest part of the Obama-Clinton battle. If the PUMAs existed in any numbers, McCain would have benefited from their support significantly in the intervening time, especially if, as they claim, they represent the 18 million people who supported Clinton in the primaries.

So I like that Obama has called the press out on this, and I hope he continues to do it. It's not that the left wants the press to favor our side--we just want them to do their jobs as objectively as possible, and barring that, put their biases out there for everyone to see, and we'll never get there if we don't call out bad behavior when it shows itself.

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