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Journalism is dead.

The fair and balanced government funded PBS will be supplying the moderator for tomorrow night's vice presidential debate. Meet Gwen Ifill, Obama groupie and author of the book Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Here's the summary of the book:

"In The Breakthrough, veteran journalist Gwen Ifill surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama's stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power...Drawing on interviews with power brokers like Senator Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and many others, as well as her own razor-sharp observations and analysis of such issues as generational conflict and the 'black enough' conundrum, Ifill shows why this is a pivotal moment in American history."

And here's Ifill talking about her book:

Now, I wonder if Gwennie could have just the teensiest interest in seeing an Obama victory... to bolster her book sales, perhaps? All she's done this election season is absolutely fawn over Barack Obama, whereas she couldn't have been more condescending and dismissive towards Sarah Palin. Her attitude was so obvious that PBS was flooded with complaints, and the ombudsman had to come to her rescue. Here's the video of Gwennie's idea of "objective" reporting:

Notice the whining over the attacking of Obama, the condescension over the chants of "Michael Steele!" and "Drill, Baby, Drill!". I also couldn't help but notice she was speaking over the Star Spangled Banner being sung in the background. Maybe that's no big deal to some people, but to me it is. I was a journalist before I started blogging; I did video reports all the time. And at every single sporting event I went to, the National Anthem was sung, and I would never have been talking over it. I always made a point to make sure I had stopped what I was doing so I could pay my respects. It may be petty for me to say that I find it distasteful, but I really do. They couldn't have waited the sixty or so seconds until it was over so that they could show some respect to our National Anthem? I don't know. Like I said, maybe that's just me.

In any case, perhaps PBS doesn't understand what exactly a moderator is supposed to do. A moderator is someone who is supposed to be neutral; someone who can show no bias between the two subjects, someone with no prejudice towards either of the candidates. Gwen Ifill does not fit that description. Not only is she quite obviously in the tank for Obama, she has a vested financial interest in seeing him win. Even left wing bloggers are puzzled over this:

My dear ladies and gentlemen, in Election '08 where partisanship is as thick as a the foundation of the Empire State Building, having a moderator that appears "so friendly" to Senator Obama just doesn't look right and opens the door to "the fix" talk. Although Ifill isn't one of those screaming political pundits, I've heard her on various radio shows (especially urban radio) where she just gushes about Senator Obama's historic run for the presidency. And with so much riding on Governor Palin's performance in this debate, why have someone with an Obama tilt moderate? While I'm hardly a conservative and/or Republican (I do have a smattering of some conservative views), they have every right to not like this situation. And I would say the same if the moderator was a person who gushed about a McCain presidency.

I have a hard time believing that Gwen Ifill will NOT be tougher toward Governor Palin than Senator Biden. She seems to have much vested in an Obama presidency. She is a professional. She may moderate fairly. But with today's political environment, couldn't PBS find someone who hasn't written a book and articles that are clearly positive to ultra-positive towards Senator Obama?


Of course, we've gotta be careful of criticizing her too heavily, or she'll play the race card. And of course, PBS apparently doesn't understand what all the controversy is over.

This, my friends, is just another example of why journalism is officially dead.

Hat Tips: Jay at Stop the ACLU and Michelle Malkin


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Comments (33)

One correction, PBS has lit... (Below threshold)
marc:

One correction, PBS has little, to nothing to do with selecting the moderator, Ifill was selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Journalism has been dead fo... (Below threshold)
GaryS Author Profile Page:

Journalism has been dead for some time. Did you miss the funeral?

At this point, it's my intent to never read a newspaper or news magazine again in my life. Ditto for all TV news, except possibly in the event of a major catastrophy or emergency of some kind.

I've noticed that even in some of the highly technical publications I read, discussions of volts and megahertz will be randomly interrupted by some totally unrelated liberal rant, as if the author just couldn't hold it in any longer. Simply amazing.

I now find myself being annoyed by Fox New's "fair and balanced" mantra. Where is there even one outlet that is not totally in the tank for the extreme left wing? That is, where is the counterbalance? Simply put, there isn't one and that makes me quite angry.

thanks for the opening to u... (Below threshold)

thanks for the opening to use this, finally, Cassy - this is from the local reporter that was doing daily dispatches from both conventions this year:

"During the singing of the national anthem, the Republican delegates sing with the performer on stage; at the Democratic convention, delegates barely stopped talking long enough to look up to acknowledge someone was singing. During the invocation, most of the delegates' heads were bowed and the entire convention hall was completely silent; the Democratic convention was rarely ever quiet."

This is a bit off topic, but still worth mentioning: "Another interesting feature of the GOP convention - the many handmade signs, mixed with standard signs, that are sprinkled throughout the convention center. At the Democratic convention, runners passed out uniform signs to audience members and were militant about when they were held up and down - the choreography meant to maximize impact. I actually saw a runner yell at a 7-year-old girl to put down her sign during Obama's speech."

Gary - Do I take you to mea... (Below threshold)
Okami:

Gary - Do I take you to mean that you see Fox News as being far left?

Governor Palin should ask G... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Governor Palin should ask Gwen how she expects her book to do.

Journalism is far from dead... (Below threshold)
TPeasy:

Journalism is far from dead. What's finally dead is the false paradigm of objective journalism.

We're finally heading back to the way it used to be; openly partisan news sources. But instead of newspapers and pamphlets it will be cable news and weblogs.

TPeasy - "We're finally... (Below threshold)
marc:

TPeasy - "We're finally heading back to the way it used to be; openly partisan news sources. But instead of newspapers and pamphlets it will be cable news and weblogs."

And just when was that time?

Why is PBS still getting fu... (Below threshold)
DJ:

Why is PBS still getting funding from taxpayers?

It's a fine example of the problem with government. Once an entity outlives its original purpose how do you go about getting rid of it or privatizing it?

Kinda reminds me of the 3% federal excise tax on phone bills that was used for paying for the Spanish American War.

The phrase "conflict of int... (Below threshold)

The phrase "conflict of interest" comes immediately to mind. She should be yanked post haste based on that alone.

Marc,Try the 18th and 19th ... (Below threshold)
TPeasy:

Marc,Try the 18th and 19th century.

http://moa.cit.cornell.edu/moa/index.html

I hope Sarah Palin kicks bu... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I hope Sarah Palin kicks butt during the debate and Gwen appreciates her front row seat at such an occasion.

We're finally head... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
We're finally heading back to the way it used to be

Back to the way it used to be? In an alternative universe, perhaps. The false dichotomy will never be dead. It's called simple denial.

I thought that was pretty c... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

I thought that was pretty comical that Gwen Ifill would do the "moderating" when I read a little bit about her. Who could be less biased in this debate than one of Obama's Happy Pills? Clinton is right again, this is a fairy tale.

I would love to see how man... (Below threshold)
hugh:

I would love to see how many viewers CNN has lost. That is a poll I would love to see!!

The phrase "conflict of ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The phrase "conflict of interest" comes immediately to mind. She should be yanked post haste based on that alone.

A reasonable argument. However, it's pretty lame of McCain to wait until 24 hours before the debate to object. Her book was announced weeks before he agreed on the moderator.

I concur with the room; the... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

I concur with the room; the author of a book with Sen. Obama's name in the title was a terrible choice as debate moderator, although purely strategically, you conservatives might actually thank your lucky stars. If - as I'm expecting - Sen. Biden whips his very intelligent but very green opponent, you probably have an out to minimize the damage. Were I Sen. McCain, I'd passively let it go and, if Gov. Palin gets blown off the stage, start an Ifill-related ad campaign post-debate. Just a thought.

Note that I'm drawing a dis... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

Note that I'm drawing a distinction here between intelligent and ignorant. I believe Gov. Palin to be both.

you probably have an out... (Below threshold)
Brian:

you probably have an out to minimize the damage. Were I Sen. McCain, I'd passively let it go and, if Gov. Palin gets blown off the stage, start an Ifill-related ad campaign post-debate. Just a thought.

Actually, that would explain why they waited until the day before the debate to object. It's early enough to get the message out there, but likely too late for them to get a new moderator.

Did McCain object to having... (Below threshold)

Did McCain object to having Ifill moderate? That's not what I'm seeing. Did I miss something while I was out today?

"Gary - Do I take you to me... (Below threshold)
Gary:

"Gary - Do I take you to mean that you see Fox News as being far left?"

No, obviously not. But on balance I do see them tilting slightly to the left. O'Reilly really wants to be a major channel anchor, so panders a good bit. And then there is Juan Williams and Colmes, certainly left of center. And other less well know Fox faces.

My point, which I obviously failed to make, is that where is the right of center media outlet to balance CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CNN, the NYT, the LA Times, the Washington Post, etc., etc.? There isn't one. Not one major conservative newspape, not one conservative broadcast outlet. None.

When Fox started, they were slightly to the right of center, but that's gone now. I suspect it was all a ploy anyway.

For me, it doesn't matter. I can't stand O'Reilly, Colmes and Williams, so I almost never watch.

TPeasy - "Marc,Try the ... (Below threshold)
marc:

TPeasy - "Marc,Try the 18th and 19th century."

Sorry guy, auditions for the Comedy Channel are closed.

Recall the reactions of con... (Below threshold)
Clint:

Recall the reactions of contemporary papers to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, by Lincoln's two "hometown" papers:

Chicago Tribune: "The dedicatory remarks by President Lincoln will live among the annals of man."

Chicago Times: "The cheeks of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dishwatery utterances."

Guess which one was the Republican paper and which one was the Democratic one.

Who have you been wa... (Below threshold)
Larry:


Who have you been watching Brian, NBC?

"However, it's pretty lame of McCain to wait until 24 hours before the debate to object. "

McCain has said he has no objection. Try watching someone who isn't in the bag for Obama, you might even learn a few things.. . or not. . .

Call me crazy, but when I c... (Below threshold)
Conspiracy Theorist:

Call me crazy, but when I clicked the Ifill video, it returned a message and a blank screen: "We're sorry. This video is no longer available."

Cassy, did you notice the YouTube user account that posted it? Did they decide that the effect intended when posted (Day 3 of RNC Convention)was perhaps not that which it is having now?

Or is it just more friends of Obama at Google?

Silly conspiracy theorists who dream this stuff up are so nutty... Perhaps I should join ELF or go park my arse in a tree and tell it I am here to save it.

From Ace of Spades - How If... (Below threshold)
Conspriacy Theorist:

From Ace of Spades - How Ifil & Biden will get Palin:

So Joe Biden is doing this for every single easily-anticipated subject matter of question. Health care gets asked about, generally. Joe Biden drops his earlier-rehearsed bit of legardemain about TERPSA's third-party copayment provisions.

Now, when the question goes to Palin, Ifill will specficially re-ask the question to incorporate Joe Biden's mention of TERPSA's thrid-party copayment provisions.

He will get a general question, which he will deliberately shape to be more specific, as to a specific he has planned and boned up for. Ifill will then demand Palin answer the nit that Biden interjected, just for this purpose.

So why can't Palin do this to Biden? She can try. But Ifill will not insist Biden answer intelligently about her specific-data-gotchas. He will be allowed to answer in general principles and only stick to his own talking points.

Has Palin gotten the knack of moving away from such gotchas? She's probably practiced it a bit. However, Ifill is going to demand she answer Biden's goofball TERPSA question, and not the more general question originally posed.

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/274659.php

Did McCain object to hav... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Did McCain object to having Ifill moderate? That's not what I'm seeing.

You're right, I don't see that he's objecting. I was thrown off by the right-wing echo chamber objecting for him.

They couldn't have... (Below threshold)
They couldn't have waited the sixty or so seconds until it was over so that they could show some respect to our National Anthem? I don't know. Like I said, maybe that's just me.
It is a shame that we live in a time when disrespecting our National Anthem is expected behaviour by the elites (if a Fox correspondent had paused, the elites would be rolling on the floor laughing) but if you say, "I'm afraid my opponent just doesn't understand..." to the black guy, then you are a flaming racist.

Then again, if obambi isn't elected, the whole country is racist.

Hey everybody, see how easy... (Below threshold)
epador:

Hey everybody, see how easy it is to throw off Brian?

Keep up the good work!

[sarcaster off]

Why don't we just let Oprah... (Below threshold)
lisa:

Why don't we just let Oprah moderate it...I'm sure she can be just as fair and balanced at Ifill.

This is just ridiculous! It was just revealed TODAY that Ifill didn't even tell PBS or the McCain camp that she was writing the book. What if one of us applied for a job and purposely didn't tell our hopeful employer that we were actually working for one of their competitors? To find out that she didn't reveal this information show a little light into the lack of integrity that she has. She needs to be replaced...period!

"I was thrown off by the... (Below threshold)

"I was thrown off by the right-wing echo chamber objecting for him."

Sure, Brian. It wasn't your fault.

Gwen's book came out July 2... (Below threshold)
SDW:

Gwen's book came out July 27, 2008. First week of August, John McCain agreed that she would be fine as the moderator for the VP debate.

Of course, this was before he picked Sara Plain. I suppose if I were in McCain's shoes, I wouldn't want Ms. Plain to be questioned on anything that will reveal the dimwit she is.

I watched this part on CNN,... (Below threshold)
Andy Jackson:

I watched this part on CNN, to see how they reacted, and I must admit that I was stunned: Wolf Blitzer actually asked the panel to be quiet and stand when the National Anthem came on. Of course the panelists were somewhat taken aback...

I agree with the lefty loon... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I agree with the lefty loons. This is a very good political play by McCain. Should Biden do well, it will be perceived that he was shown favoritism. Should Palin stumble, Ifil was being unfair. This is truly a great move. We have our cake and eat it too. Ifil has been marginalized and Biden is the one in the uncomfortable chair. Love it. ww




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