cliff-kincaid-small.jpgSeptember 7, 2008
By Cliff Kincaid
I was on C-SPAN on Saturday talking about media coverage of the campaign. They double-teamed me, with “progressive” Faiz Shakir and former NBC News journalist Marvin Kalb arguing that Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin should start going on shows like NBC’s “Meet the Press” to prove she’s worthy of the nomination. I said that would be a trap and politically suicidal.

The announcement has since been made that Governor Palin will sit down with ABC’s Charles Gibson for an interview this week. Democrats will be counting on Gibson to spring a trap on the Republican vice-presidential candidate and make her look like an ignorant buffoon on some issue or another.

“Okay, Governor,” Gibson could say to Palin, “who is the president of (insert the name of some obscure country)?” And when she fails to come up with the right answer to one of a dozen or so questions, this will be blown up by Gibson and the rest of the media into another “scandal” about whether she’s prepared to be vice-president. The game plan is obvious.

But nobody should underestimate Palin, a journalist herself before she went into politics. She should be able to handle any barbs sent her way. More than most, she should understand the journalism “profession” and its liberal bias.

But there should be no doubt there is a plan underway to “get” her.

On C-SPAN, I had done my homework on Faiz Shakir and noted a couple times that, rather than being a media “watchdog,” as he was advertised, he is a former researcher for the Democratic National Committee. He is now with the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, which includes people from the Clinton Administration, the John Edwards campaign, and various other Democratic Party offices.

Most of Shakir’s presentation consisted of questioning Palin’s record and beliefs and expressing a desire for more intense media scrutiny of her. This is the Obama campaign’s new line of attack, which is being faithfully echoed by the media.

If the McCain campaign decides to “Let Palin be Palin,” she should be able to handle the media sharks. It might even be amusing to see her put the liberal attack dogs in their place. 

However, my view, even though I have absolutely no contacts with the McCain campaign, is that she should avoid some of the programs. I did agree that she may want to consider going on C-SPAN, where the moderators have a reputation of being more even-handed and there is a commitment to letting people speak in complete sentences.

While going on the air with Charles Gibson is a calculated risk, there is absolutely no reason for Palin to jump into the water with the media sharks from NBC News, a network that has increasingly been viewed as being solidly in the Obama camp. 

A Rasmussen poll found that 51 percent of the people believe that reporters are trying to “hurt” Palin. Twenty-four percent said the stories made them more likely to vote for McCain. The backlash has begun. If Gibson gangs up on her, his reputation will also suffer. This will be a critical test.

Palin said in her convention speech, “…here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people.”

On C-SPAN, Kalb tried to suggest that Palin and the Republicans were trying to score political points by attacking the media. I said that the Republicans were just trying to defend themselves, and that they had every right to do so.

I also noted that the feeding frenzy was sparked by the Democratic website the DailyKos, which falsely claimed that Palin faked her last pregnancy and that the child wasn’t really hers. Shakir had spoken at the organization’s yearly convention, a fact he eventually conceded after prodding. The DailyKos is what started the liberal media’s preoccupation with her family life, and the pregnancy of her daughter.

Kalb talked as if the Constitution somehow required that she go on “Meet the Press.” This is complete nonsense, of course. In this day and age, the media consist of much more than little-watched Sunday talk shows. These programs are remnants of the old liberal media. She should treat these programs with care.

One caller to C-SPAN said Palin should go on “Meet the Press” when Obama agrees to face a grilling on the Rush Limbaugh radio program. That sounded fair. The call reminded us that Barack Obama has been very reluctant to go on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News. In the first installment of that interview, O’Reilly managed to force Obama to concede, in effect, that his judgment about the effect of the U.S. military troop surge in Iraq was just wrong.  

According to Michael Calderone of Politico, the McCain campaign is getting about 80-100 requests a day from news organizations for Palin interviews. Is she supposed to comply with all of those? Nonsense.

It is clear that the media elite won’t be satisfied until she appears on the shows that they deem important and appropriate. Those are programs, not surprisingly, dominated by liberals.

You can’t please the liberal media. Consider that some commentators say that, as a candidate, she won’t have enough time to spend with her kids. At the same time, they want her to spend more time answering questions on their shows and giving media interviews. It is “gotcha” journalism designed to lure her into a trap. This fact is as obvious as their liberal bias.  No matter what she does, she loses. 

I pointed out on C-SPAN that Biden has been a regular on the Sunday talk shows and journalists still won’t quiz him about his history of plagiarism. If you’re a Democrat in good standing with the liberal media elite, you will be treated deferentially, as Biden is.

In addition to plagiarism, Biden also has a record of making off-color remarks about people of color. He even made offensive comments about Obama himself, declaring him bright and clean. Still, the media stand in awe of his “foreign policy experience,” when in fact he avoided military service with a series of deferments, and his experience consists mostly of talking in the Senate and visiting foreign countries at taxpayer expense.

On Sunday, September 7, in what was billed as “his first Sunday morning interview since accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for Vice President,” Biden went “one-on-one” with Tom Brokaw and was once again spared any embarrassing questions about his shameful history of plagiarism, which many members of the public are still not familiar with.

Interestingly, Biden was quick to tell Brokaw that Palin has an obligation to appear on his program. It sounds like a set-up. And it is.

Jonathan Beecher Field, an assistant professor of English at Clemson University, wrote a very interesting article recently for about Biden’s “track record of intellectual dishonesty.” This is what plagiarism is all about.

Referring to the plagiarism in Biden’s career, he said that while he would vote for Obama, “Biden’s dishonesty matters to me in two ways. It suggests something of Biden’s character, indeed, in a realm more relevant to doing his job than was John Edwards’s philandering to his. The other reason is selfish. Now that Barack Obama has deemed a plagiarist worthy of the vice-presidency, it becomes more difficult for me to make the case in the classroom that plagiarism matters. More broadly speaking, Obama’s choice has made it harder for me, and for my colleagues across the United States, to defend the principles that form the foundation of scholarship.”

Why don’t the journalists on “Meet the Press” and other shows bring this up? It’s because they favor the Obama/Biden ticket and don’t have the intellectual honesty of Professor Beecher Field.

I would recommend that Palin go on some of these liberal shows only after the reporters demonstrate their even-handedness. For example, ask Barack Obama about his communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, and ask Joe Biden about the plagiarism that not only ended one of his runs for the presidency but which interrupted his law school days when he  was caught plagiarizing then.

Another topic for Biden could be his alleged Catholicism. Biden wears this on his sleeve. He hopes it will attract votes. It was brought up briefly on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” Biden claims to accept church teaching that life begins at conception but he votes to allow the destruction of that life through abortion. This might be seen by many as another example of a lack of intellectual honesty and integrity that exposes him as a phony Catholic.

I noticed recently that Mike Barnicle of MSNBC did a story about Biden, highlighting that he was an “Irish-Catholic” and a man of the people who rides a train. But Barnicle didn’t mention Biden’s clear disagreement with Catholic Church leaders on abortion policy. The Barnicle story also ignored Biden’s plagiarism, which is really not a surprise since Barnicle himself lost a job at the Boston Globe because of plagiarism.  

This curious fact helps us understand the media double standard. How can Brokaw ask Biden about his plagiarism on “Meet the Press” when one of his colleagues, Mike Barnicle of NBC sister network MSNBC, was exposed for plagiarism?

The media pretend that they have high standards, but it is a double standard designed to benefit Democrats. The public is waking up to their political games.

            Cliff Kincaid is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and can be contacted at