Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Thursday, July 29, 2004
The July Surprise  Just when I think nothing the Bush administration can do will render me speechless, they find a way.  I have basically nothing to add to this from The New Republic, except to emphasize one passage:
[Editor's Note: This afternoon, Pakistan's interior minister, Faisal Saleh Hayyat, announced that Pakistani forces had captured Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian Al Qaeda operative wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The timing of this announcement should be of particular interest to readers of The New Republic. Earlier this month, John B. Judis, Spencer Ackerman, and Massoud Ansari broke the story of how the Bush administration was pressuring Pakistani officials to apprehend high-value targets (HVTs) in time for the November elections--and in particular, to coincide with the Democratic National Convention. Although the capture took place in central Pakistan "a few days back," the announcement came just hours before John Kerry will give his acceptance speech in Boston.]

These guys play games with our national security.  It's time for them to go.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Can a Skinny Kid with a Funny Name Be Elected President?  I hope you didn't miss Barack Obama's keynote address at the Democratic National Convention (text here, video can be accessed  here).  After a slow start, he was very, very good.  Listening him, you an imagine the electricity that passed through the crowd in 1984, when Mario Cuomo burst into the national consciousness with a speech similar in its themes (a call for national unity, and a reminder of the good work government does) as well as its positioning within the convention.

It would be a mistake to prejudge his career -- he's still only a state senator, for heaven's sake.  But I can't wait for the people of Illinois to send him to Washington this Fall so we can begin to see what he can do nationally.

More Obama-mania:  Josh Marshall discusses the party's dreams for the future junior senator from the state of Illinois:

The Democratic party yearns for this man's political future like Dick Cheney lusts after the oil and gas fields of the Caspian Sea.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Mets in the National Spotlight  Check out Sunday's Doonesbury.

Bad Journalism  MSNBC's home page currently features one of the most misleading headlines I've seen.  Its coverage of the latest Washington Post/ABC poll is headlined:  "Losing Ground / Amid Convention Extravaganza, Poll Shows Kerry Losing Ground to Bush."

Except ... the poll was conducted from July 22-25th, BEFORE THE CONVENTION STARTED.   I won't argue the underlying facts of the poll -- it shows Kerry marginally weaker than last month, but still pretty strong. 

But the way it is presented, especially against the backdrop of largely favorable coverage of Bill Clinton's speech last night, leaves the impression that voters are listening to the convention and rejecting Kerry.  They still might, but it hasn't happened yet.

A more accurate interpretation would have been something like: On eve of convention, voters say Kerry has work to do.

Bottom line:  This poll was a bad idea from the outset-- its timing rendered it irrelevant the minute it was concluded on Sunday afternoon.  But the desire to generate a few headlines and click-throughs doesn't absolve MSNBC and the Washington Post for their decision to hype it the way they do, and ultimately mislead their readers.

UPDATE: Well, at least the mistake was short-lived.  They're now touting an interview with Teresa Heinz Kerry...

Two Podiums, No Waiting  Thank goodness MSNBC gave Howard Fineman a blog.  Otherwise, how else would I know about the latest innovation from the Democratic National Convention:
From the front row, a podium looms directly above. Luckily, some speaker is booming away from the OTHER podium. This is an innovation: the first convention with two podia!

Note to the DNC:  Are we sure two podiums were the best idea in the world?  I can just hear Sean Hannity now: "Two podiums?  So Kerry can take one side of the issue from one, then move over and take the other?"

[Ed. Note:  Headline contributed by the official wife of MIA]