First we had the 100 days exchange, in which the mainstream media sided with John McCain, calling out Barack Obama for repeatedly misstating McCain’s words. Then, on Friday, Obama lifted a single line from a McCain interview to support his claim that McCain believes there has “been great progress economically over the last seven and a half years,” despite growing evidence that we are in economic trouble.
However, this time the McCain team was monitoring the cable news. They quickly put out a video showing the full McCain statement and Obama did not get away with his verbal sleight of hand. Within the same news cycle, mainstream media and non-partisan online news outlets picked up the video and reported the discrepancy between Obama’s take on McCain and McCain’s actual words.
What does this tell us? Obama’s staffers, perhaps lulled into an understandable sense of security, think they can slip misleading snippets of McCain statements into Obama speeches and interviews. But in a YouTube world, this is becoming increasingly hard.
The risk for Obama is that he may give the lie to the conceit that his is a new style of politics. As one report put it:
Although Obama gets substantial mileage out of running against politics as usual, he provided a reminder on Friday that he knows how to twist with the best of them.
And at least a few mainstream journalists are swimming against the pro-Obama tide.