A Tree Falls In the Forest

Yesterday in Albuquerque, John McCain delivered an excellent speech that finally made the case that Barack Obama and the Democrats are primarily responsible for the current financial crisis. McCain contrasted his own record, particularly as it related to Fannie and Freddy, with Obama’s blank slate. He also accused Obama of a lack of leadership in the current crisis. The guts of McCain’s speech related to the economy, but he made his economic points in the context of the broader question, “who is the real Barack Obama?” Again and again, McCain argued, Obama’s deeds don’t match his words.

If you read our post yesterday, you know that McCain talked about the economy in Albuquerque. You even had the opportunity to watch a ten-minute excerpt from his speech in which he did just that.

But if you rely on the mainstream media for your news, you probably have no idea that McCain gave an important speech on the economy yesterday. Patterico documents the fact that the Los Angeles Times quoted McCain’s speech right up to the point where he started talking about the economy. Then without, acknowledging that the economy was in fact the main subject of the speech, the Times jumped to a quote from Barack Obama to the effect that McCain is afraid to talk about the economy.

That’s pretty bad, but really not much worse than how most mainstream outlets covered the speech. The Associated Press headlined, “Character attacks emerge in McCain-Obama race.” The AP’s focus was on the negativity that was engaged in by both campaigns yesterday. In one sentence, the AP did at least acknowledge that McCain had referred to economic issues:

In Albuquerque, N.M., McCain delivered an unusually scathing broadside. He accused Obama of lying about McCain’s efforts to regulate the home loan industry. And he suggested Obama is a mysterious figure who cannot be trusted.

But that’s it: no discussion of the substance of McCain’s speech. Instead, the AP launched into a long, disapproving account of campaign “vitriol,” the principal instance being Sarah Palin’s references to Bill Ayers. The AP went on to peddle the Democrats’ line on past instances of Republican “vitriol:”

Obama, meanwhile, has learned the lessons of Michael Dukakis and John Kerry. Those Democrats lost presidential elections after hesitating to counter hard-hitting and factually dubious attacks on their character and judgment. The shorthand terms for those attacks – “Willie Horton” and “Swiftboating” – have become a call-to-arms for Democratic activists who vow always to return fire with fire.

Actually, as we’ve pointed out many times, the Swift Boat Vets did a number of ads (seven, I think), only one of which contained facts that were questioned by John Kerry. As for Willie Horton, there were at least three ads or speeches that referred to him, a speech by Al Gore, an ad by the Bush campaign, and an ad by an independent Republican group. None of them contained anything that was “factually dubious.” The AP just made that up because they don’t like it when Democrats lose Presidential elections.

Like the L.A. Times, the New York Times buried the fact that McCain delivered a powerful speech on the economy, and quoted Obama approvingly:

Mr. Obama scolded his opponent as trying to turn attention away from the economy.

“I cannot imagine anything more important to talk about than the economic crisis,” Mr. Obama said, campaigning in Asheville, N.C. “And the notion that we’d want to brush that aside and engage in the usual political shenanigans and scare tactics that have come to characterize too many political campaigns, I think is not what the American people are looking for.”

If you relied on the New York Times, you would not know that McCain had just delivered a speech on the topic Obama said he was avoiding.

Just another day in the mainstream media.

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