- 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).

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air agreed, though he did not attribute to Miss Ifill the best of motives: “It seemed to me that Ifill was on her best behavior during the debate, perhaps cognizant of the scrutiny she received over the preceding two days.”

Notable among the conservative dissenters was Ace of Spades, who noted that Miss Ifill was biased more by omission than commission.

“Gwen Ifill did not ask a question about energy. Oh, Palin answered - by forcing that answer into an unrelated question. … But in Palin’s area of expertise? The area in which Republicans have one of their few edges? … Abortion and Guns: Two more issues that cut against Obama. … no questions.”

Ace goes on, blaming the omissions on “dyed-in-the-wool liberals simply being unable to even consider the idea that questions the stupid, moronic public consider interesting might indeed be interesting [and] Ifill refusing to toss Palin a question which she’d destroy Biden on.”

John McCormack of The Weekly Standard agreed but said, “I don’t think these omissions had anything to do with the release of her book on Obama.”

Jim Geraghty of National Review’s Campaign Spot blog said that although the “questions were not glaringly biased,” he criticized Miss Ifill’s conduct as dishonorable on three counts.

“The first was not disclosing the book to the Commission on Presidential Debates. The second was dismissing the criticism out of hand, and not acknowledging that debate moderators ought to not have a financial incentive to see one side win. And thirdly by refusing to acknowledge these facts during the debate, information that the viewers at home are entitled to take into consideration. All of this is entirely separate from how pro-Obama the book is, and the questions she asked.”

Got milk?

Get Drunk and Vote 4 McCain has been quite sober lately.

The site comments on daily news items about the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain and rates them on a martini scale. The higher the number of drinks, the less conservative Mr. McCain is acting and the greater the liquid courage needed to vote R on Nov. 4. Posts about Mr. McCain and running mate Gov. Sarah Palin acting and talking like conservatives have sobering “milk” grades - the more milk, the more conservative.

As of 6:30 p.m. Sunday and going back a week to the posts from Sept. 29, the total count has been 34 milks and six martinis.

Got racism?

The Associated Press flatly accused Gov. Sarah Palin on Sunday of racism - excuse me, using “a racially tinged subtext” - for noting Sen. Barack Obama’s ties to a white terrorist.

“According to the AP’s Douglass K. Daniel, Palin is a racist because the word ‘terrorist’ is construed now-a-days to mean a ‘dark-skinned radical Muslim,’ so that makes her a ‘racist’ in his blinkered view,” writes a disbelieving Warner Todd Huston at Newsbusters.

But did you know that less than two weeks ago, a sitting member of Congress said Mrs. Palin wants to kill blacks and Jews? And didn’t do it in the subtext.

Rep. Alcee Hastings, Florida Democrat, warned the National Jewish Democratic Council on Sept. 22 to be wary of Mrs. Palin because “anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.” According to CNN’s Martina Stewart, “the room erupted in laughter and applause.”

“So not only is Palin a racist and anti-Semite, so is anyone who totes a gun?” said another of Newsbusters’ incredulous writers (Tim Graham) before going on to note more oddness in the mainstream media coverage. “CNN’s headline was ridiculously bland: ‘Florida congressman points to Palin to rally Jews to Obama.’”

“Well, hey, at least everyone in the panel was laughing. They all thought it was hilarious. Now, if only they could just get those gosh-darned KKKonservatives to stop talking about race. Oh, wait! It’s the Democrats who keep race-baiting! That’s right. I almost forgot. Almost. Good to know that Alcee Hastings puts blacks and Jews on the same level as a moose, though. Good. To. Know,” wrote Cassy Fiano at Stop the ACLU.

Mr. Hastings has since apologized, explaining to the Palm Beach Post that “the policies and priorities of a McCain-Palin administration would be anathema to most African-Americans and Jews.” (Maybe that was the subtext.)

The Associated Press has yet to notice Mr. Hastings’ words in any way on its national wires.

Contact Victor Morton.

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