It’s a Little Like the Loch Ness Monster….

October 15, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, in the midst of the financial meltdown, it was revealed that the lobbying firm of Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager, had been receiving monthly consulting fees of $15,000.00 from Fannie Mae right up through August of this year, though Davis had claimed that his firm stopped being on the Fannie payroll long ago.  The press largely ignored the story.

On Friday of last week, a bipartisan committee in Alaska (ten Republicans and four Democrats) unanimously approved a report from a special investigator who had been looking into Sarah Palin’s firing of Walter Monegan.  The report concluded that Palin abused power and violated state ethics laws.  It stated these things explicitly.  Yesterday Sarah Palin blatently lied about this, saying that the report had concluded that she didn’t abuse power or violate any laws.  The press has had little to say about the report or Palin’s mischaracterization of its findings.

Yesterday it came out that William Timmons, the head of John McCain’s Presidential transition team, has ties to two men who were convicted of illegally lobbying on behalf of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War, and may have acted on behalf of the Iraqi government himself.  So far the mainstream press is largely ignoring this story.

Conservatives and members of the McCain campaign have been claiming in recent days that Barack Obama was given “a free pass” on his links to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and more recently on allegations that he “pals around” with 1960s radical William Ayers.  I don’t know what world they’re living in, but we’ve been hearing about Ayers every day for the past two weeks, and the Reverend Wright story dominated the news cycle for weeks during the primaries.

If Barack Obama’s campaign manager were a lobbyist and if his lobbying firm had been paid $15,000.00 per month by Fannie Mae right up through the end of the summer; if Joe Biden had been found to have abused his power as Senator and violated ethics laws; if the head of Obama’s transition team had ties of any sort to Saddam Hussein; if any of these things were true, Republicans would be in a frenzy and these stories would be all over the place, in newspapers, on the web sites of the major news outlets, on the evening news.  And rightfully so.  These are stories, and the news media should be following them.  But they’re not. 

Don’t talk to me about liberal bias in the press.  It doesn’t exist.  It’s a myth used by the right to cow the press into leaving their candidates alone and going after candidates on the left.  The press cares only about the next story, about how to fill up time in the 24 hour news cycle and how to sell advertising.  The dominant storyline recently has been the economy and how that has helped Barack Obama’s standing in the election.  But that story is growing stale, and the next narrative is going to be that John McCain is making a comeback.  He’s not yet, at least not in any meaningful way.  But they’ll start talking about it and the story will drive the news and the news will drive the polls. 

The Liberal Media.  It’s like the punchline of a bad joke:  It should make me laugh, but it’s really not funny.

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