It's a painful part of my job. My Sunday mornings are spent remote-controlling my way among the "mainstream" media talk shows. Panels of Washington insiders talk it up and give America the skinny on what's really happening in the world. Except that they too often don't know -- or won't say -- themselves.
One amusing recent discussion thread had it that, in essence, Republicans would have fared better in the next round of congressional elections had those elections been held last November instead of this November. The thinking on this particular talk show was that the public outrage that's been fueling a shift among voters to the GOP is starting to wane.
It's a long way from now until November, I'll be the first to say. Public moods are volatile. They can shift. But they haven't so far. Just a few days after this TV discussion, Gallup released a relevant survey. It revealed the biggest one-week shift Gallup has ever recorded for public support for Republicans to control Congress instead of Democrats. Credit Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics for spotlighting this glaring fact.
I could go on about one-sided political analyses. But the worst of them recently might have been media's hesitancy to criticize President Obama's halting response to the Gulf oil spill. Obama himself had to declare his "ownership" of the situation before many journalists and pundits would do the same. The Sunday shows generally ran with this theme. Obama's to be judged (only) from this point forward, they said, but it's still BP's fault and responsibility.
Maybe. But I don't recall many of these same talking heads giving George W. Bush as much as a 48-hour grace period after Hurricane Katrina before calling for his head on a platter.
Save the Washington spin award, however, for the verbal contortions about Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak. The issue is whether the Obama White House offered him a job in exchange for Sestak dropping his Democratic primary challenge to incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter and whether such an offer might have broken any laws.
The spin came right out of grammar school. Everybody else was doing it, too! It's just politics, you know.
That actually might be my view, too. But rest assured that had such an offer come from a surrogate of the Bush administration -- as Bill Clinton was the surrogate for the Obama White House in the case of Sestak -- the media indignation would have blown the doors off.
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