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When Pundits Decide

The NY Times caught the same thing that I noticed the night of the Indiana/NC primary and front paged this story about their absolute hubris. The m

The NY Times caught the same thing that I noticed the night of the Indiana/NC primary and front paged this story about their absolute hubris.

The moment came shortly after midnight Eastern time, captured in a devastatingly declarative statement from Tim Russert of NBC News: “We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it,” he said on MSNBC. “Those closest to her will give her a hard-headed analysis, and if they lay it all out, they’ll say: ‘What is the rationale? What do we say to the undeclared super delegates tomorrow? Why do we tell them you’re staying in the race?’ And tonight, there’s no good answer for that.”

It was not exactly Walter Cronkite declaring that the Vietnam War would end in stalemate. But the impact was apparent almost immediately, starting with The Drudge Report, the online news billboard that is the home page to many political reporters in Washington and news producers in New York. It had as its lead story a link to a YouTube clip of Mr. Russert’s comments, accompanied by a photograph of a beaming Mr. Obama with his wife, Michelle, and the headline, “The Nominee.”

We've all been talking about how pompous and lousy our punditry class is and how they want to choose our candidates and select the issues (or controversies---phony or not) that should be covered while ignoring policies that have a real impact on all Americans. It's been pretty sickening all around. Eric Boehlert wrote this great column weeks before Tuesday's primary called "So now the press tells candidates when to quit?"

History continues to unfold on many levels as the protracted Democratic Party primary race marches on, featuring the first woman and the first African-American with a real shot at winning the White House. Here's another first: the press's unique push to get a competitive White House hopeful to drop out of the race. It's unprecedented.

Looking back through modern U.S. campaigns, there's simply no media model for so many members of the press to try to drive a competitive candidate from the field while the primary season is still unfolding...read on

The Russerts are not supposed to declare outcomes before it actually happens. That's the job of opinion pundits, but not for the head of a major news department.

Since they were unsuccessful in their efforts, Howard Kurtz explains the media's new role for Hillary Clinton in his article called: The Ultimate Punishment

The media have figured out how to end the Democratic race. Declaring it over doesn't work. Urging Hillary Clinton to drop out doesn't work. Putting Barack Obama on the cover of Time as the nominee doesn't work.

What does work--ah, this is fiendishly clever--is to simply ignore the race. Many journalists are just moving on. What will become a tsunami of speculation about whom Obama will pick as his running mate is already under way. That's not to say the MSM isn't reporting on Hillary's campaign stops, her $6-million loan to her struggling operation, the trickle of superdelegates toward Obama and similar developments. But we are now treating Obama as The Man.

Nice media, good media, abandon your function. My point on this is not about delegates or the popular vote or any one candidate or who has won or lost. It's about the media's behavior and the role they are playing during the process. Just think about this. Why is the polling data saying that a greater percentage of Hillary voters will not vote for Obama? Check out this Gallop poll.

Clinton supporters appear to be somewhat more reactive than Obama supporters. Twenty-eight percent of the former indicate that if Clinton is not the nominee -- and Obama is -- they would support McCain. That compares to 19% of Obama supporters who would support McCain if Obama is not the nominee -- and Clinton is...read on

The on-line community is solidly behind Obama and I've read many posts and comments saying Obama voters would never, ever vote for Hillary so when I first heard these statistics on teevee I was quite surprised. Then I realized what is happening here. The media is fueling their anger. It's that simple. And there are a lot of rank and file Democratic voters who are very upset. I might add that a few bloggers have had their bodies snatched away too. And on CNN Sunday, this notion was validated by Roger Simon:

SIMON: ...I find that if you go into Hillary crowds, the anger you find on the part of her supporters, especially women supporters, is directed not against Barack Obama, but against the media.

ZERNIKE: Yes. I mean, I think what people were reacting to this week wasn't so much the media declaring the race over, as it was this kind of "Ding dong the witch is dead" quality about that tone to the comments. And I do think people are angry.

And I think when you look at, you know, the percentages of Hillary Clinton supporters who say they won't support Obama, I think Roger is right. They're mad at -- they're mad at the media. They're not necessarily mad at Obama.

They talk about it like it was somebody else who did it instead of themselves.

They showed they can give Barack the treatment too during the Wright business and they'll be doing it with gusto going forward, I'm sure.

I do believe no matter who wins the nomination, (It looks like Obama) the Democratic party will unite in the end, but this information is very important to me and should be to you I would hope.

I say again, it doesn't matter what candidate we're talking about or who you are supporting---the media has never acted like this before. That's astounding to me, but after the way they covered the Bush administration all these years I guess I shouldn't be. That's why I'm highlighting this to you. We always have to hold the media accountable for their behavior. I've been focusing on the horrendous Military Analysts story for this reason. Have you seen the networks cover this major story much at all? I haven't. It's partially responsible for the disaster known as the Iraq war. Glenn Greenwald had an email conversation with Rumsfeld's man, Di Rita over his role in the scandal. I realized Di Rita was probably lying to Howard Kurtz over the weekend and asked Glenn to check it out.

But before the DoD released these emails to the public, Di Rita -- on April 27, 2008 -- appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources, was questioned by Howard Kurtz about the program's purposes, and made statements that, as we now know from those documents, were completely false (h/t John Amato via email):

KURTZ: I talked to retired Colonel Bill Cowan, who was a Fox military analyst. He said that three years ago, after he criticized the war effort on "The O'Reilly Factor," he was booted off the group, was never invited to another briefing, never got another telephone call, never got another e-mail. So it sounds like access was provided to those who weren't too critical.

DI RITA: I don't know anything. I heard -- I saw that in the story. I've heard other assertions to that effect. It was certainly not the intent.

What Di Rita denied knowing about -- that "access was provided to those who weren't too critical" -- was exactly what the plan he endorsed provided.

Thank you, Glenn. He did an outstanding job of exposing Di Rita's role in the scam of the American people. I emailed Howard Kurtz to ask his opinion on this matter also. I'll let you know what he says.

To wrap this up, I do hope that everybody keeps an eye on the Villagers. I know C&Lers are because they email me their letters to editors about their blatant disregard for their role every day. Remember, how quick were they to jump on the Rev. Wright saga and how did they handle John McCain's---Catholic hating Pastor John Hagee? Were their endless loops of Hagee's rants on teevee? O'Reilly mentioned it, but let him skate easily away like most pundits do on every issue. Did he ask why McCain sought out his endorsement? Nope, he allowed him to spin it that Hagee just happened to endorse him which is a partial truth. Or the fact that his wife will not release her tax information. (The 'Cindy McCain Watch' continues) Why not? Who knows, the media doesn't care so they won't bother to ask. I'm sure we'll see much more of this behavior as November roles around. Stay tuned and sound off...

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