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What Goes Through Their Minds?

One wonders what possesses the Washington Post editors to put on Page One a story about Cindy McCain’s past drug addiction. Aside from the lack of anything particularly new or the absence of any suggestion that she plans on playing any substantive role in a McCain administration, you have to ask why? Is the mainstream media so desperate to turn the tide against the ascending campaign of John McCain? Have they exhausted their supply of non-scandals about Sarah Palin?

It is hard to fathom. Even as a matter of self-interest, one would think they have some concern about joining their MSNBC colleagues in the Obama tank. And what’s more, they seemed to have learned nothing from their Palin feeding frenzy: these personalized vendetta pieces don’t work. They only engender sympathy for the victim of the malicious press attacks.

And of course, the same Post editors and their reporters will complain bitterly they have not been afforded sufficient access to the McCain camp. Come to think of it, perhaps this is a strange sort of payback for an outlet confessing on behalf of the entire media to be “mad” at the McCain team (for having the temerity to try to control their own message).

And apparently it is a red letter day at the Post. As Bill Kristol details, the paper’s same page one also has an invented Sarah Palin “gaffe” on Iraq. The Post writes:

Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would “defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.”

The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself.

However, the most logical reading of her actual words is not that she was ascribing responsibilty for 9-11 to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, but that she was praising the troops for fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq which of course is not just linked to, but is the very group, which was responsible for 9-11.

Aside from the fact Palin didn’t say or likely infer anything similar to what the Post reporter alleges (that Iraq is linked to 9-11), it’s a perfectly acceptable topic for a story. It involves someone on the ballot.

Note: After Kristol’s posting appeared late last night, the Post added this line to the second paragraph above in its story:

“But it is widely agreed that militants allied with al-Qaeda have taken root in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.”

Did the Post have second thoughts about their reporter’s mindreading tactics? Did the editor realize that Palin might actually have been praising the troops for fighting Al Qaeda?  Nevertheless, the Post’s quick edit doesn’t really solve the problem. The  inference — utterly unsupported –remains that Palin is spinning a discredited tale. (Moreover by leaving the rest of the piece as is, the article now is rather incomprehensible. Does the Post still mean to accuse Palin of telling tale tales?)

There is a tall tale being told alright – and it’s not coming from Sarah Palin.


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