Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Gwen Ifill is terrible

"Global test"? "Trial lawyer"? "Flip-flopper"? Halliburton? Ifill is like a farce of a parody of a Bob Somerby caricature of a White House press pool reporter, recycling the greatest hits of the gotcha catchphrases from the past few months of campaign coverage. I was surprised that she didn't bring up the Swift Boat Veterans.

Actually, from my past viewings of NewsHour, I've been thoroughly unimpressed with everyone on the show besides Jim Lehrer. Is it too much to ask that talking heads be (1) adequately informed about the substance of public policy --- at a very minimum, better informed than I am, given that talking about it is their full-time job --- and (2) able to speak about it clearly and in detail?

ABC "who won?" instant poll: Cheney 43%, Edwards 35%, Tie 19%, though their polling sample was 38% Republicans, 31% Democrats, with the balance independent.

The NBC "Truth Squad" fact-checkers missed the point of the Cheney vs. Edwards disagreement on counting combined coalition and Iraqi casualties, versus counting coalition casualties. Edwards's point was that, unlike the 1991 Gulf War, the ongoing Iraq war has the United States bearing the lion's share of the burden among "coalition" forces. Iraqi deaths aren't relevant to this argument. Or are we now counting Iraq as part of the coalition that invaded Iraq?

NBC, post-debate "let's see what bloggers think!" segment: John "Hindrocket" Hinderaker (of Power Line) and Ana Marie Cox (of Wonkette). Somehow AMC resisted the temptation to make fun of Hindrocket's nom de plume on network TV, and instead stammered out a comparison of Cheney to the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man (roughly: "you can hit him, but it's just going to sink in and your hand's not gonna come away with much substance") and giggled. Oh, Ana! A rather tame snark! I'm so disillusioned. Nevertheless it's clearly unbalanced for NBC to tap one partisan Republican blogger, and one blogger whose political affiliation is best described as "pro-dick-jokes".

OTOH I think there is something to Cox's assertion that it's hard to land hits on Cheney. There's plenty of facts to nail him for, but he's such a low-affect speaker, and such a shameless liar, that he can just pull more falsehoods and non sequiturs out of his ass and roll on with scarcely a noticeable interruption. It's up to journalists to fact check his ass in the days to come. Let's see if it happens.

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