It's become a rite of passage for news anchors to show up at conventions and huff that what they're about to televise is not news, but is instead a tightly scripted infomercial, carefully calibrated to create the most favorable image possible for the voters. But when Democrats gather, as they have in Boston, these same reporters sound exactly like a tightly scripted infomercial for the political Left.
Just take the first night, when Jimmy Carter and the Clintons spoke. "People were juiced like I don't think I've seen at a convention ever before!" gushed ABC's Charles Gibson. CBS's sportscaster-turned-news anchor Hannah Storm was even more ecstatic: "It was like the Celtics were playing in a championship game here at the Fleet Center last night. It was absolutely electric!" As for Bill Clinton's speech, NBC's Katie Couric insisted that "almost everybody, even the opposition, agreed last night that he was masterful!"
In reality, Clinton was ... well, Clintonian, making wild claims of social spending cuts that would throw poor children out on the street and hand them assault weapons to start killing each other. No wonder the liberal news anchors liked it. But no one in the media would apparently be so rude as to check the facts.
Hannah Storm needed to be pulled over and ticketed for overusing the "rock star" metaphor too many times in one breath, starting with Hillary and moving on to Democratic keynote speaker Barack Obama: "It was as if she was a rock star coming in here! And speaking of rock star! A guy that they are projecting to be the next big star in the Democratic Party. He's already being called a rock star."
ABC's Charlie Gibson aggressively sold the Democrats like a used car. It was silly enough for him to suggest that a bunch of Democrats screaming like Beatles fans for Bill Clinton is something he'd never, ever seen before. He then went on to explain very helpfully why the Democrats are relentless in touting John Kerry's little tenure in Vietnam.
Gibson suggested after hearing so much about Lieutenant Kerry's military adventures that "you began to think at times he was running for admiral rather than president." Kerry's supporters said they want to portray Kerry as a strong leader who can do a better job of taking on the terrorists, "a point they feel the need to make," the ABC anchor explained.
"They feel the need"? Maybe that's because Bush has a huge lead in polls asking who would better fight the war on terror (18 points, according to ABC pollster Gary Langer). But ABC doesn't want to linger on that polling problem, so Gibson skipped their own new poll.