A Peek Behind the Scenes… and Two More Ads
Guest post by Scan
In the Washington Post last week, Tom Shales wrote a blistering critique of the most recent debate that began:
When Barack Obama met Hillary Clinton for another televised Democratic candidates’ debate last night, it was more than a step forward in the 2008 presidential election. It was another step downward for network news — in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.
You get the idea. It was a key piece in support of Whinegate.
What you may not know is that Jay Carson of the Clinton campaign sent Shales an email that same day. Politico has this email in its entirety:
From: Jay Carson
To: [Tom Shales]
Sent: Thu Apr 17 17:59:49 2008
I hope this finds you doing well.
I read your piece with great curiosity this morning especially because I didn’t recall you ever having the same negative reaction to any of the multiple debates where the moderators were extremely tough on senator Clinton (much much tougher than either Stephanopoulos or Gibson were on either candidate last night). I did a lexis search to make sure I hadn’t missed you crying foul about any of these debates and my memory proved me correct. Msnbc was so tough on senator Clinton (including devoting over well over the first hour of two debates to tough questions to senator Clinton) that they were mocked and criticized by many for the imbalance of their coverage, though notably not you. In fact, you found their most recent debate to be “too tame and tepid.”
To be clear, I don’t think it is a bad thing for the press to be tough on presidential candidates (or their staff for that matter). These people are running for president after all, and if you cant handle a tv anchor how should the American people expect you to handle a hostile world leader? My only complaint is when a different standard exists for each candidate, which is the glaring issue with your piece. It is troubling to me that tough on one candidate is deserving of your outrage, and tough on another candidate is fair game, even “too tame.” I would posit that if one is going to be playing referee with media coverage it is all the more important not to have a double standard.
When you get a chance I would appreciate an explanation of how the various debates differed.
It’s good to know that the campaign is pro-active about stuff like this. According to Politico, there’s still been no response from Shales.
Also, I posted a couple of great new Pennsylvania ads on the last open thread and already two more have shown up on YouTube in the past few hours. Here they are: