“I’m E.J. Dionne and I approved this message”

We’ve commented over the years about how the MSM abets Democratic campaigning by holding Repubican ads to a higher standard their Democratic counterparts. This year, though, the MSM is helping the Obama campaign in a more direct (though probably inadvertent) fashion — by supplying the content used in at least one Obama ad.

The ad in question began with John McCain saying, “I will not take the low road to the higest office in this land.” The narrator then intoned:

What’s happened to John McCain? He’s running the sleaziest ads ever. Truly vile. Dishonest smears that he repeats even after it’s (sic) been exposed as a lie. The truth be damned. A disgraceful, dishonorable campaign. After voting with Bush 90 percent of the time, proposing the same disastrous economic policies, it seems deception is all he has left.

This ad is “supported” not be any examples or analysis but rather by quotations from lefty journalists — e.g., the increasingly unstable Joe Klein, long-time Democratic shill E.J. Dionne, and liberal blogger Steven Benen. In the absence of any attempt at reasoned argument, the ad boils down to this proposition: pro-Obama media types are angry at John McCain, and so is Obama. That’s hardly a scoop.

Howard Kurtz doubts that the ad will help Obama. He writes: “voters have grown accustomed to candidates accusing each other of making false claims.” Presumably, voters also understand that name-calling by partisan journalists carries no weight.

The ad does contain one cue that voters might find useful: the question “What’s happened to John McCain?” It’s not a question anyone is likely to ask about Obama. Since McCain, and not Obama, has a pre-existing reputation for good character, Obama may face an uphill battle in convincing voters, through shrill assertions by fellow leftists or otherwise, that McCain is the one who is dishonorable.

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