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Media Hid Palin’s Unknowledgability!

Andrew Sullivan thinks the revelations about Sarah Palin that have the Right Blogosphere in such an uproar also reveal something damning about the mainstream press.

They kept taking Palin seriously as a veep candidate when she didn’t come close to even minimal standards for passing a citizenship test. I’m sorry but I think this is a terrible failing, and it is a reason the mainstream media are imploding. They let the rules of the game over-rule their duty to tell the American people the truth as they began to discover it.

Raise your hand if, before yesterday, you thought Palin was a highly informed policy wonk fully ready to be president and are therefore completely stunned by rumors to the contrary.

Anyone? Bueller?

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    Anyone? Bueller?

    To be honest–if she REALLY didn’t know which countries are signatories to NAFTA or that Africa is not a country, that portrays her as waayyy worse than we have seen in the Couric/Gibson interviews.

    I mean, she can see NAFTA from her house!

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  2. rodney dill says:

    Well did she claim to have visited 57 states?

    Did she say she was relying on her muslim faith and then have to be corrected by a reporter?

    Her experience level is comparable to Obama’s, but then he isn’t ready either.

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  3. laura says:

    I think Sullivan has a point about the TV media at least. There is a misconeption about the role of the journalist. Journalists are supposed to make a honest effort to report the truth. (I realize all the difficulties in that.) However, many promement journalists, particlularly on TV, don’t think that their job is to get the facts. They think their job is to get no more complaints from the right than they do from the left, so they treat all kinds of rightwing extremists as if they were normal people.

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  4. DC Loser says:

    I’m sure Bit, ZR3 and GA Phillips will raise their hands.

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  5. Bithead says:

    Raise your hand if, before yesterday, you thought Palin was a highly informed policy wonk fully ready to be president and are therefore completely stunned by rumors to the contrary.

    Wait… is this the same press who thinks Obama IS ready?

    Hmmm.

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  6. carpeicthus says:

    Misstatements are funny, but they’re not lack of knowledge. When Bush said “put food on your families,” people laughed, but no one thought he actually doesn’t know the difference between his children and his table. If she really didn’t know who was in NAFTA, that’s pretty freaking significant.

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  7. carpeicthus says:

    “Press” “most of the country” … whatever.

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  8. Patrick says:

    I think that Sarah Palin will be a much stronger candidate in four years. She is gonna spend the ensuing time girding up for the primaries and I think that everyone is underestimating her intelligence. All of these reports simply prove that she is ignorant, not stupid.

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  9. Tad says:

    Raise your hand if, before yesterday, you thought Palin was a highly informed policy wonk fully ready to be president and are therefore completely stunned by rumors to the contrary.

    Not really a fair question given your audience’s interest in politics, given their presence here. A better question would probably be ‘do you think the media did a fair job or illustrating her knowledge.’ I think the answer is no, a resounding no. The fact that some people take the time to read between the lines on their own doesn’t change that.

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  10. James Joyner says:

    All of these reports simply prove that she is ignorant, not stupid.

    Right. Or, as I noted in a post some time back, Palin’s an ignoramus.

    But if you don’t know which three countries are in NAFTA when you’re a 44-year-old state governor, you rather clearly have zero natural curiosity about the world around you.

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  11. Patrick says:

    But if you don’t know which three countries are in NAFTA when you’re a 44-year-old state governor, you rather clearly have zero natural curiosity about the world around you.

    Well, she is from Alaska. All they really care about up there is hockey. :)

    Again, she campaigned this time as the “every-man” or “Joe Six-Pack” so I don’t see it as a huge problem that she didn’t know these facts – I’d be surprised if Joe Six-Pack does. We have a tv show titled “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” in the US, for gosh sake. Clearly, if there is a debate whether a common person is more knowledgeable than a 10 year old, maybe her ignorance on this issue isn’t that shocking.

    That being said, I guarantee that, if she plans on running in 2012, she will be more prepared and will not be “Joe Six-Pack” again. She is way too smart for that.

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  12. carpeicthus says:

    If you first apply for a passport when you’re 43, and you live in a place where it’s easier to go to foreign countries than the rest of the U.S., it’s safe to say you have no interest in the world.

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  13. Patsy says:

    I copy these quotes:
    Patrick: All of these reports simply prove that she is ignorant, not stupid.
    James Joyner: But if you don’t know which three countries are in NAFTA when you’re a 44-year-old state governor, you rather clearly have zero natural curiosity about the world around you.

    If Sarah Palin is not stupid, but is ignorant, shame on her.
    If she has zero interest in the world around her, then double shame on her.
    You’ve had one ill-informed president (I am being SO restrained – what I would really like to say would not be printed!) destroy America’s image; enough already!
    Luckily for all of us, you Americans have chosen a man with a good brain and a good heart – well done.

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  14. Drew says:

    I’d be careful, people. Do you REALLY think Palin didn’t know Africa is a continent? You may be conducting an intelligence test on yourself.

    In any event, is it just me? Do I have this wrong? I’m from Illinois, so I know Obama from the perspective of the locals, not the national media image carefully constructed and protected over the last two years.

    Obama has fine academic cred, but his actual resume – the body of work thereafter – is very light. Community organizing. Guest lecturing at my old school. [Wait, that makes him a great American! ;-> ] Part time lawyering. His single executive position, at Annenberg, was not a successful stint.

    As State Senator, he really was Senate leader Emil Jones’ water boy, who in turn simply did Chicago Mayor Daley’s bidding in Springfield. There is nothing in his legislative record there that is of note.

    Similarly, when Pat Ryan’s nasty divorce caused him to exit the US Senate race, they brought in Alan Keyes. That was a complete joke. And so Obama waltzed into the end zone. His subsequent record in the US Senate? Let’s be charitable: “thin.”

    So by any objective measure, yes, Palin was not ready. But just how is Obama ready?? How does this calculus work? As an owner of many businesses over the last 12 years / As a guy who hires CEO’s, I have to tell you – I’d look at this guy’s resume and say “what a waste of a good education.” “He’s 47, and this guy hasn’t done anything that tells me he has any executive (as opposed to political appeal) talent.”

    I hear he is “smart.” Perhaps. But his unscripted lines are fairly banal and vacuous. Hope? Change? We are the ones? Good theater. Good politics. But substantive? Not so much.

    Time will tell. He may rise to the occasion. But I defy anyone to give me a substantive defense of Obama’s record and accomplishments to date as evidence for his readiness.

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  15. Triumph says:

    But I defy anyone to give me a substantive defense of Obama’s record and accomplishments to date as evidence for his readiness.

    He somehow managed to get 65 million people to vote for him. That’s a damn big accomplishment.

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  16. James, do you really think Sarah Palin thought Africa was a country? Come on, this doesn’t pass the smell test.

    There are a lot of people who need to see her destroyed because she is a huge threat to them. And yes, many, if not most, of them are in the Republican Establishment.

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  17. Rusty says:

    “All of these reports simply prove that she is ignorant, not stupid.”

    Ignorant is far worse than stupid. Stupid cannot be helped, ignorance shows apathy, selfishness and laziness. I see people all the time that live in their ignorant bliss, they were poor students, athletes and lousy employees. They are followers not leaders, they are usually uninterested in the big picture and as a small business owner I never trust them with any complex decisions.

    In my company sales people are very results driven and I usually shy away from hiring sales people that are too, “intellectual”. Even so, my “results oriented sales people” that don’t think big picture will sell, but their contracts are written weak, and they always end up hiding costs for a project to keep the sales price low. They may sell high volume but their margins are horrible. The other thing that drives me crazy about the small picture, results oriented sales people, is that they take everything personal and are unwilling to accepted responsibility and improve.

    They also tend to be very reactive not proactive. I have several questions in my interview process that are simply designed to weed out the happy ignorants.

    I will admit I am a fiscal conservative with a libertarian streak when it comes to social issues, so I was skeptical of Sarah when she was nominated. At first I loved the way she energized the base, but after her interview with Katie Couric I started to develop concerns. I am wary as to how much truth there is to these allegations, because the source is anonymous and everyone in politics has an agenda. But if these reports are true or if there is a pattern of Sarah being uninterested in the big picture, I have grave concerns about giving her the task of rebuilding the party and governing the nation.

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  18. Spoker says:

    Me thinks those who were responsible doth protest a bit too much. It’s now CYA time.

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  19. Steve Plunk says:

    Raise your hand if you thought Obama or Biden is a highly informed policy wonk ready to be president. Anyone?

    Heck, they don’t even tell you about the UFO’s until after inauguration.

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  20. James Joyner says:

    James, do you really think Sarah Palin thought Africa was a country? Come on, this doesn’t pass the smell test.

    I think it’s possible. She couldn’t even name a newspaper she read, after all.

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  21. rodney dill says:

    Raise your hand if you thought Obama or Biden is a highly informed policy wonk ready to be president. Anyone?

    Well I’m not fond of Biden’s politics, and his gaffes aside, I do think he would be ready to be President.

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  22. anjin-san says:

    He’s 47, and this guy hasn’t done anything that tells me he has any executive (as opposed to political appeal) talent.

    Hmmm. Putting together a campaign that political scientists will study and others will imitate for decades. Fully grasping the possibilities of the Internet and exploiting them. A black man getting elected President. He had the nerve to go for the brass ring, and he attained it. A pretty impressive accomplishment.

    Yea,right, this guy has done nothing.

    He has not even taken office and he has permanently changed the country for the better.

    John McCain, with decades of hands on experience and a fat resume, utterly failed where Obama succeeded.

    To dismiss Obama as simply someone with “political appeal” is beyond lame. A lot of people come into the world with brains, talent and so on. It’s what you do with it that counts.

    What made Jerry Rice and Larry Bird truly great? They took a very large amount of God given talent, and then just worked a lot harder than other, similarly talented but less driven athletes. The same is true of executives, musicians, business owners and so on.

    If a resume is what qualifies one to be President, we simply should have hired GHW Bush again, he was the resume champ. Oh, wait, that did not work out all that well when we tried it.

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  23. sam says:

    Raise your hand if you thought Obama or Biden is a highly informed policy wonk ready to be president.

    Well, certainly they come up short if your benchmark is Palin’s nuanced and thoughtful excursions into foreign and domestic policy. But, then, if that is your benchmark, your meds need recalibrating.

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  24. Considering that Jerome Corsi once published a column that claimed Canada wasn’t in NAFTA and that the editors at Human Events Online didn’t notice leads me to believe that it is wholly possible she didn’t know who was in NAFTA. See here.

    As a polisci prof, I likewise believe that it is possible, based on personal experience with students, that she at least referred to Africa as a country and really didn’t know much about it, but has she been prodded would have realized it was a continent.

    Indeed, this election I had a poli sci major, who should know the basics of how the US government works, actually ask me if it was true that if Obama was elected that all the guns would be taken away. So, the claims made by Cameron are less credulous than one might think.

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  25. Drew says:

    That’s a truly pathetic response, Triumph.

    I was inquiring about his demonstrated abilities as a legislator or executive, and you responded about his abilities to get votes. Adolph Hitler had the ability to attract adoring crowds.

    Your response is a testimonial to a propogandist, not a Chief Executive.

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  26. kingtut says:

    We also must include the fact the fact she flubbed the question regarding what the VP’s duties are. She had 5 weeks to figure out how to answer that question and she failed. She complained about gotcha journalism, but the questions that she was asked were basic. I really don’t understand how this woman can be the Governor of a State, and she does not know basic civics or geography. Alsaska is part of the union as far as I know, therefore these are questions that she should have been able to answer. I hope that she runs for President in 2012, because we will be assured another win if she is the best you have to offer.

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  27. Eric says:

    Adolph Hitler had the ability to attract adoring crowds.

    Aw, jeebus. Friggin’ righty nutties just can’t resist the Hitler references. Must EVERY-*&^$#-THING. ALWAYS. COME. BACK. TO. HITLER?!

    Godwin’s Law violated yet again by a nutty righty. Thread over.

    Thanks a lot, Drew, this was just getting interesting too.

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  28. Bithead says:

    Perhaps you’d be interested in disputing the claim?

    (Chuckle)

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  29. Chris says:

    I have a suggestion for a constitutional amendment.

    Candidates for the presidency must be over the age of 35 and natural born citizens of the US. And know that Africa isn’t a country.

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  30. Perhaps you’d be interested in disputing the claim?

    (Chuckle)

    Well, how about this: Hitler was never elected the President of Germany. When he ran against Hindenburg in 1932 he lost rather soundly in both the first and second rounds. While the Nazis did come to claim a plurality of the vote in the legislature, they were never a majority party. Hitler became Chancellor (i.e., Prime Minister) after a series of non-democratic backroom deals that led Hindenburg to appoint him.

    While it is true that Hitler had a popular base, it was never a majority base. And while it is true that the constitution of Weimar Germany was democratic in design, the rise of Hitler to power had very little to do with democratic institutions.

    At a minimum, the notion that Hitler is an example of how charisma alone can led to a large majority following, a democratic election based on that following and then to disastrous dictatorship is simply incorrect.

    Beyond any of that, the economic condition of Germany, not to mention the whole defeat in WWI, have to be taken into consideration before making comparisons. The reduction of Hitler to a cautionary tale about charisma is tiresome and incorrect.

    If we are going to deploy the Hitler analogy, could we at least get the facts straight?

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  31. Dale Thompson says:

    The fact she couldn’t figure out that NAFTA stands for North American Free Trade Agreement and name Canada as one of the countries (hint: North American includes Canada), is just sad.

    To be honest (as a non-biased Canadian following this election for the last six months), Palin really is that simple. Not stupid, mind you, just simple. There’s a difference between the two as well. Simple is the fact she graduated (finally) after attending four schools in five years. I also graduated in journalism too… trust me, it’s not rocket science either, no offense to other journalism grads.

    Her puzzling rhetoric during interviews or even in her only debate shows her simplistic view of the world as she sees it. Palin clearly can charm a PTA meeting or even some Alaskans with a wink and a smile but she clearly was in over her head intellectually when it came to running as McCain’s VP. In the end, she couldn’t understand the basic workings of what a VP really does and it showed terribly. Her lack of preparation for interviews proved to be another mistake made by a simple person. She though she could breeze through questions with circular logic or a nice catchphrase… too bad for her reporters are far too sly to fall for things like that.

    I notice more than a few Obama bashers on here as well… again, simple seems to be the keyword here. Think Palin and Obama have the same credentials? Not even close, look at their resumes side by side… the only thing Palin has is a nice fancy sash from the Miss Alaska pageant.

    Do I believe Palin thought Africa was a country, couldn’t name other countries in NAFTA and thought the VP was in charge of the Senate? Yes I do, absolutely. You have to remember Palin is a simple person with a simple view of the world outside of Alaska, that’s all. Stupid, no… agonizingly, painfully, brutally simple, that’s it.

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  32. tom p says:

    Well, how about this: Hitler was never elected the President of Germany.

    Thanx Steve.

    Now back to a more intelligent discussion of the topic at hand… (yeah, right…)

    That Sarah Palin did not know Africa was a continent? Gag!… Choke… I ain’t buying that.

    That she did not know who the parties to NAFTA are? I’ll bet she didn’t know what NAFTA was!

    That said, do not sell her short. 4 yrs are a long time. She is obviously intelligent, and also ambitous. Ignorance can be overcome. She wiil start to read all those publications she could not name… now.

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  33. anjin-san says:

    Steven,

    Are you really going to try to use actual history on the “facts is confusing” crowd?

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  34. Eric says:

    LOL. Thanks, Steve.

    Anjin’s right, though. The fact that Bitsy even seriously suggested by his reply the Hitler analogy was even appropriate is proof positive that the nutties just don’t get it. They see a Hitler under every rock, no matter how big or small.

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  35. Richard Blakemore says:

    We start with the claim that the MSM protected Obama. Those who cannot refute the claim resort to the old fall-back of “everyone does it” (see how Clinton supporters tried to brush off his Lewinsky antics) or, in this case, “the MSM protected both sides, so who cares?”. Palin was castigated as a rube hundreds of times, but Palin is gone. Obama is here for four years. We deal with the fact that we have hope for change, but little upon which to base that hope in terms of Obama’s experience and achievements.

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  36. Beldar says:

    Dr. Joyner, you’re irrational on the subject of Sarah Palin.

    You don’t think the governor of Alaska ever reads a newspaper?

    Sir, you are making a fool of yourself, soon to rival Andrew Sullivan in your dementia on this topic. It makes me genuinely sad.

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  37. James,

    Policy wonk? Maybe not. Basic citizenship? I think you’re letting your own logic slip away now. When that moron carved her own face with a “B,” you were appropriately doubtful (and proved correct); yet, when the media proffers that a governor doesn’t know that Africa is a continent, you buy it hook, line, and sinker.

    I will continue to not use shifting BS detectors myself, and applying the same one as I applied to Ms. Backwards-B-Face, I call BS. Perhaps the blue-bloods want to believe this story because it doesn’t comport with their elitist vision of the Republican party

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  38. Bithead says:

    Well, how about this: Hitler was never elected the President of Germany

    I don’t recall that being the claim. The inferrence I took from the statement was that the ability to mass adoring corwds may not be the best measure of someone’s worth in government.

    But, whatever. Pray, continue.

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  39. Drew says:

    I’m still waiting for the case to made for Obama’s experience and accomplishments that evidence his readiness for office – other than his ability to amass adoring crowds by promising them goodies if they vote for him.

    Somehow I don’t think that case will be forthcoming.

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  40. Bithead,

    Continue about what? You didn’t respond to what I wrote. You were to one who felt like the Hitler analogy had some validity, and I attempted to explain, at least in part, why that wasn’t the case.

    At a minimum, one cannot, and should not, simply reduce Hitler and the rise of Nazism in Germany as simply a function of a charismatic speaker.

    And, for wholly different reasons, one oughtn’t reduce Obama to simply a guy who gives good
    speeches as a means of explanation.

    It is not only tiresome, but intellectually lazy.

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  41. TangoMan says:

    Do I believe Palin thought Africa was a country, couldn’t name other countries in NAFTA and thought the VP was in charge of the Senate? Yes I do, absolutely. You have to remember Palin is a simple person with a simple view of the world outside of Alaska, that’s all. Stupid, no… agonizingly, painfully, brutally simple, that’s it.

    Explain to us then how Governor Palin can act as a delegate to PNWER (here is a document from the Alberta Government Department of International, Intergovermental and Aboriginal Relations which lists her participation, along with other Pacific Northwest Governors,) and how she could participate in a forum that address NAFTA issues and yet be unaware of NAFTA and the signatory countries:

    — As Alaska’s Governor, Palin is a delegate to PNWER (Pacific NorthWest Economic Region). PNWER is a public-private partnership including elected officials and private sector representatives from Alaska, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Canada (Alberta, Yukon, British Columbia) “PNWER is an international collaboration on economic structures” (AK Rep. Coghill). Among it’s many areas of focus, PNWER works to “advance CANAMEX” — a “seamless” continental intermodal trade and transportation corridor (a main artery in what has been referred to in the past as the NAFTA Superhighway system).

    As for the issue of the VP’s role in relation to the Senate, the Washington Post reports today:

    It should be noted that no jobs will be listed in the book for the office of the vice president. A spokesman for the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Reform explained that the vice president’s office is technically neither part of the executive or legislative branch.

    So how’s that fabled Canadian education system working again? I hear they’re turning out graduates who are tops are imbibing propaganda.

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  42. BeldarBlog says:

    A plea to John McCain: Find and expose the anonymous sources telling lies about Sarah Palin and use the McCain temper to “make them famous”…

    In the many hours I spent online doing background research on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin before I wrote my first post about her on June 8, 2008, I read many dozens of newspaper stories about her, dating back to her time as mayor of Wasilla in the late 199…

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  43. […] James Joyner drinks the anti-Palin Kool-Aid and eagerly accepts as fact the most outlandish claims of certain former McCain campaign operatives. Beldar goes to the opposite extreme of bashing not only the operatives themselves, for spewing that crap, or even Joyner, for believing it, but Carl Cameron of FoxNews for even reporting on it (Newsbusters does the same). That last bit is going a bit too far. Yes, liberals think FoxNews is a media arm of the Republican Party, for whom “fair and balanced” is just another political slogan on the level of “hope and change.” No, liberals aren’t right about that. The network truly is fair and balanced, and their job is to report the news, not to report all the news that helps one side of the political spectrum at the expense of the other. If the Republican Party or some conservative group really wants a right wing equivalent of MSNBC, let them go out and form one. FoxNews is not that network, nor should it aspire to become that. As their other slogan notes, their job is to report; ours is to decide. [Cameron may indeed be worthy of some criticism for reporting these dubious allegations in a manner that suggested he was personally vouching for them, rather than simply reporting the fact that these allegations were made. That’s a fair critique, but attacking him for reporting the allegations at all is not.] […]

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  44. […] post that has Xrlq and Beldar so up in arms was simply to dismiss Andrew Sullivan’s claim that the […]

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  45. mckimmey says:

    Raise your hand if you have any proof of what you state in your article.

    Rumor and unknown sources seems to become an accptable way to be a journalist – and establish credibility.

    Frankly we don’t believe everything we read or hear, and in particular don’t put much stock in the stories we have heard from unnamed sources about a major unidentified columnist regularly meeting the school bus with sacks of candy.

    But he hasn’t denied it.

    Maybe we’ll hear more news later.

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  46. […] have seen, and largely ignored, such statements. The proximate cause of this post was a comment to a post at OTB that was at least in the family of Obama-Hitler comparisons. I decided to refresh my own […]

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