Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Stop Fact Checking and Start Reporting

Nothing annoys me more than the media claiming that it will "fact check" the various advertisements and claims of the candidates. Let's face it, members of the media will vote overwhelmingly for Sen. Obama. Yet when they profess to neutrally check facts, I'm supposed to take it at face value?

I'm no pomo-wonker who claims that "all facts are interpreted," but if some member of the media is going to assert that candidate x got his facts wrong I'd like to know if he is voting for or against candidate x.

Take for example one Calvin Woodward of the AP. Today he discusses (among other things) the McCain campaign's claim that Obama was too close to terrorist William Ayers.



William Ayers, a University of Illinois education professor and former member of the radical Weather Underground, was front and center in Republican claims that Obama was "palling around with terrorists," as Palin put it. Ayers had a meet-the-candidate event in his home for Obama early in the Democrat's political career.

The two served on the board of the Woods Fund. And they live in the same Chicago neighborhood.

McCain and Palin stretched the extent of that relationship to link Obama with shadowy figures.

Beyond that, they falsely implied that Ayers used the occasion of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to wish even greater harm. "We don't care about an old washed-up terrorist and his wife, who still, at least on Sept. 11, 2001, said he still wanted to bomb more," McCain told a rally.

This distortion originated in Hillary Rodham Clinton's play book during the primaries, when she criticized Obama for the same relationship.

Ayers, Clinton said, made comments "which were deeply hurtful to people in New York and, I would hope, to every American, because they were published on 9/11, and he said that he was just sorry they hadn't done more."

By coincidence, The New York Times published a story on the day of the attacks about Ayers and what he called his fictionalized memoirs. The story was based on an interview he had done earlier, in Chicago, in which he declared, "I don't regret setting bombs," and "I feel we didn't do enough," even while seeming to dissociate himself coyly from the group's most destructive acts

Note the heading: "Guilt By Association." Is this "unbiased"? And where is the proof that Ayers' memoirs were "fictionalized"? Ayers still believes it was OK to "set[] bombs," so how is the McCain campaign wrong in claiming that Obama palls around with an unrepentant terrorist? "Shadowy figures"? How does Mr. Woodward propose to describe someone who was in hiding for years because he knew he was facing charges for planting bombs? "Dissociate himself coyly from the group's most destructive acts"? What does Ayers have to do to become a radical in Mr. Woodward's eyes, serve as Camp Commadant of the Gulag Archipelago? Being a commie terrorist isn't destructive enough?

Mr. Woodward: stop "fact checking" and start reporting.

1 comment:

Nick Manley said...

Ultimately; Obama's current foreign policy views don't appear to be those of the radical New Left of the 60's or 70's though.