- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Straight shooter

The National Rifle Association’s political arm released its endorsements last week, but the pseudonymous Pennsylvania gun blogger Sebastian noticed an absence at the top of the ticket. The NRA has not announced a presidential endorsement. At his blog Snowflakes in Hell, Sebastian says there may be three reasons for this.

“1. NRA has decided to endorse and is waiting for a better press cycle where the endorsement will make a bigger splash. 2. NRA is still not decided on endorsement and is wavering based on McCain’s record. 3. NRA is still not decided on endorsement and is worried McCain won’t win,” which would spoil the NRA’s perfect record on presidential endorsements and set up the story that the group has lost its clout.

“I’m really hoping it’s number one. The base is on board. I’ve yet to show up to an event and not had a rush on McCain/Palin items. Even if NRA is not yet on board the McCain train, gun owners most certainly are. [Alaska Gov. Sarah] Palin is that good, and [Sen.] Barack Obama is that bad.”

Sebastian says the gun-rights group would be “nuts” not to endorse the McCain/Palin ticket.

“[Sen. John] McCain himself is nothing to write home about, but it’s a ticket now, and his selection of Palin is a good signal that he doesn’t think we gun folks have cooties. … All stops must be pulled out to defeat Barack Obama. … and NRA owes its membership to get behind the candidate they are already behind.”

Media bias

It’s the little drip-drips that add up.

CNN gathered a group of self-described “persuadable” voters in a room to watch the vice-presidential debate last week between Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware. Megan McArdle watched along on her Atlantic blog and wrote about it in a post called “Media bias?”

“Soledad O’Brien polls the 32 ‘persuadables’ by asking them to indicate, by a show of hands, who they thought won. She calls the vote for Biden ‘overwhelming.’ The magic of Tivo allows us to freeze frame and count: 11 or 12 for Palin, 12 or 13 for Biden (some people are hard to see),” Ms. McArdle wrote.

Then came the shiv: “Thanks, Soledad, for giving credence to everyone who thinks women are bad at Math.”

Media bias II

Last week’s vice-presidential debate between Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. produced another liberal-bias controversy - the choice of Gwen Ifill as moderator.

Miss Ifill, who has worked for the New York Times and PBS, will be releasing a book on black politicians on Inauguration Day that has been titled “Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.” Reaction after the debate was much more muted, with the general consensus being that Miss Ifill’s questioning showed no bias.

Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy asked, “Was Ifill Fair and Balanced? I thought so”. Most of the 72 comments as of Sunday night were in agreement or criticized Miss Ifill on grounds other than ideological bias (most commonly, not following up her own questions and letting the candidates filibuster).

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