Clive Crook writes:
[About] the Palin nomination. For the moment, that looks like a great success... [and] triumphantly vindicated McCain's decision to select her.... Palin blew the doors off the convention on Wednesday, bringing the torrent of derision over her nomination to an abrupt halt...
I would have thought that a vice presidential candidate who is hiding from reporters and whose first speech had included a huge whopping lie--her claim to have opposed the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere"--cannot be a success: the vulnerabilities Palin creates were unnecessary and could have been avoided with the least attention to vetting. Such a decision as McCain's decision to anoint the unvetted Sarah Palin cannot be vindicated any more than a decision to play a round of Russian Roulette can be vindicated.
And, of course, there is the fact that if McCain wins the odds that Sarah Palin becomes president or acting president are at least one in three. No, this decision cannot be vindicated. And no reporter has any business saying that it has been. Before his choice of Sarah Palin, my line was that McCain was the best possible Republican this year--but that the bar was very low. I cannot say that anymore.
And Marc Ambinder says that it is not the press's fault if anybody believes his colleague Clive Crook's claim that McCain's choice of Palin has been "triumphantl vindicated":
Marc Ambinder: [A] small but significant fraction of the electorate seems astonishingly inured to misleading charges.... The facts suggest that Gov. Sarah Palin did not oppose the Bridge to Nowhere when it was politically inconvenient.... And, of course, though the press has pointed out the Bridge to Nowhere exagerration ever since it was uncovered, it must somehow be the press's fault that John McCain is enjoying a post-convention something-or-other because Americans don't realize that he's a lying liar, or whatever.
To move to a Greenwaldian debate about the duties, obligations and frustrations of the press -- well -- read elsewhere if you want to play that game. I'll abstain.
And Matthew Yglesias comments:
Matthew Yglesias: I found Marc Ambinder’s reply to my post on the press and perceptions of John McCain to be tellingly defensive. Nowhere did I write that the press should be blamed for McCain getting a bounce from his convention and nowhere did I attempt to start a “Greenwaldian debate about the duties, obligations and frustrations of the press.” All I was observing is that it’s perverse for members of the press to make claims about how dishonest campaign tactics are likely to play that treats themselves as non-participants in the process.
Creating false beliefs in the public about yourself and your opponent is politically helpful. But acquiring a reputation as a liar is politically damaging. And the public gets a lot of information through the press. Thus, the political impact of telling a lie will have a lot to do with how the media chooses to cover it. If John McCain’s decision to release an ad that contains a thoroughly debunked lie about his running mate’s record was greeted with lead stories on network news about John McCain has a reputation as a straight-talker but really he’s a big fat liar, that would be bad for McCain. But they haven’t covered it that way.... Marc... [is not] a passive observer of the fact that McCain can get away with lying, he is one of a countable number of people who are in a position to substantially influence the narrative around McCain and his campaign...
So how about it, Marc? How about a "McCain is a lying liar with an incompetent staff and lousy judgment and nobody should believe Clive Crook's claim that the past two weeks have 'triumphantly vindicated' his decision to choose Sarah Palin" post? It would be easy to do.
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?