McCain finally complains about the conflict of interest in having Gwen Ifill moderate the debate, but why did it take the blogosphere to dig this out? That’s the question we all should be asking.
The Columbia Journalism Review see’s her as a inappropiate choice:
Conflict of interest is often about appearances. There appears, to us, to be a conflict in Ifill moderating tomorrow night’s vice presidential debate. Here’s why:
– Ifill’s upcoming book is called “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.” It, apparently, “surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African American politicians [like Newark Mayor Corey Booker and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick] forging a bold new path to political power.”
– The book apparently will be published on January 20th, 2009, Inauguration Day.
– It stands to reason that a book with such a title would sell better if a certain person is inaugurated on that day.
If Obama is NOT elected then this is NOT the “Age of Obama” and the book would be thrown into the trashcan. She needs Obama to win this November and if a moderator needs a candidate to win that person has no business being a moderator….they cannot be unbiased. I don’t care how professional she has been in the past.
CJR asks a pertinent question tho:
We’ve also set aside several other related questions that are being raised in various places online, on cable, and elsewhere, including: why is this becoming a “thing” now, when Ifill’s book was reported on well before Ifill was selected as the moderator, and the McCain campaign might have raised this earlier if it bothered them?
But since when is it the job of the respective campaigns to vet moderators? Shouldn’t that be the job of their peers? Hell, Ifill didn’t even tell the Debate Commission about her book….must of slipped her mind:
The host of PBS’ “Washington Week” and senior correspondent on “The NewsHour” said she did not tell the Commission on Presidential Debates about the book. The commission had no immediate comment when contacted by The Associated Press. A spokeswoman for John McCain’s campaign did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages.
As Ed asks, since when does it become the job of campaigns to vet these people?
…but does the CJR mean to take the position that it is the responsibility of the campaigns to investigate journalists for potential conflicts of interest, rather than have the journalists themselves disclose their interests? Ifill never bothered to inform the CPD of her project. Is that a failure of the CPD to investigate her, or is it an ethical failure of Ifill to disclose?
If it’s the former, then I can say with confidence that the blogosphere operates on a higher ethical plane than the mainstream media, and we hold each other more accountable for it, too. We demand disclosure when bloggers write on topics on which they have financial interest or connections, such as Michael Brodkorb at Minnesota Democrats Exposed, who puts his disclosure statement on every applicable post. On those occasions where others had to root out conflicts of interest, deluges of scorn and criticism followed.
But I will answer my own question. Yes, the journalists themselves should of vetted the moderators but I’m afraid I can’t completely agree that they should be the only ones. The Republican party understands how biased our MSM is…knowing this the McCain camp should of been out front in vetting this person just because of prior history.
But this has become commonplace in our party. Our leaders stand mute as the MSM and Democrats sweep the fact that it was the Democrats who stood in the way of real reform of Fannie & Freddie. Our party leaders stand mute as the Democrats and the MSM burn the Bush administration at the stake over the firing of less then a dozen prosecutors as they ignore the fact that Clinton fired ALL prosecutors when he came into office. They make little noise as a Republican is run through the stringer for running his hand under a toilet stall but also stand mute when a Democrat is found with bribe money in his freezer.
And McCain and his reach across the aisle conduct is one of the worst of those who stand mute. Picking Sarah Palin was a great pick but I am almost back to the position I have held since McCain won the nomination.
Voting AGAINST a candidate rather then being FOR a candidate.