Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Obama News Dump

I know that it's mainly just Mom reading this blog now, but she may have missed some of these stories, and anyway, I don't write often enough. Hi Mom!

Polls
Gallup's has been tightening (this week it started at 11, went to 8, 7, and three today), but this is rather shocking: a Newsweek poll has Obama absolutely hammering Clinton.

Here are the numbers, compared with the last Newsweek poll finding a statistical dead heat in March:

Obama 54% (45%)

Hillary 35% (44%)

One key finding with regard to the debate: The poll was taken on April 16th and 17th -- which is to say, on one day before the debate, and on one day after. And the Newsweek pollster says that there was no real shift in support from one day to the next.

The Thin Blue Line
Within active police officers, the "thin blue line" is the unspoken word of brotherhood that prevents one cop from ratting out another. Or anyway, that's how it works on teevee. There's a similar, but less acknowledged line in journalism. Working journalists are loth to talk smack about each other. I think the reason is because reporting is a high-wire act. Sometimes you get things wrong, and whenever you commit your words to the story, there's a certain anxiety of getting it wrong. Reporters also know that the majority of the information they collect can't and won't go into a story. So when a bad story comes out, there are a number of reasons why the rest of the press goes mum.

All of which is why this petition is so remarkable. It was written by working journalists, and something like forty have signed it.

We're at a crucial moment in our country's history, facing war, a terrorism threat, recession, and a range of big domestic challenges. Large majorities of our fellow Americans tell pollsters they're deeply worried about the country's direction. In such a context, journalists moderating a debate--who are, after all, entrusted with free public airwaves--have a particular responsibility to push and engage the candidates in serious debate about these matters. Tough, probing questions on these issues clearly serve the public interest. Demands that candidates make pledges about a future no one can predict or excessive emphasis on tangential "character" issues do not. This applies to candidates of both parties.

Neither Mr. Gibson nor Mr. Stephanopoulos lived up to these responsibilities. In the words of Tom Shales of the Washington Post, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Stephanopoulos turned in "shoddy, despicable performances." As Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher describes it, the debate was a "travesty." We hope that the public uproar over ABC's miserable showing will encourage a return to serious journalism in debates between the Democratic and Republican nominees this fall. Anything less would be a betrayal of the basic responsibilities that journalists owe to their public.

New Attack Ad

The trouble just keeps coming on the elitism front. Now Obama is under fire for the words of the Boss.



Robert Reich Endorsement

Reich, who initially met Bill Clinton when they were Rhodes scholars together in the 60s, has endorsed Obama. I mention this because Reich has always been one of the most impressive and likable people in Washington. Not surprisingly, he did it on his blog. Also not surprisingly, his seems to be more an endorsement of possibilities than policy:
[Obama] also presents the best chance of creating a new politics in which citizens become active participants rather than cynical spectators. He has energized many who had given up on politics. He has engaged young people to an extent not seen in decades. He has spoken about the most difficult problems our society faces, such as race, without spinning or simplifying. He has rightly identified the armies of lawyers and lobbyists that have commandeered our democracy, and pointed the way toward taking it back.
All right--happy friday.

2 comments:

Chuck Butcher said...

Just so Mom won't feel lonely...

Mom said...

Hi Son,
This was a great post and I am proud of you. Take your vitamins.