Thursday, July 31, 2008

Damned If You Do Department

Via Atrios comes word that the McCain campaign had two sets of anti-Obama ads ready to go: one if he didn’t visit with wounded troops and one if he did:
What the McCain campaign doesn’t want people to know, according to one GOP strategist I spoke with over the weekend, is that they had an ad script ready to go if Obama had visited the wounded troops saying that Obama was...wait for it...using wounded troops as campaign props. So, no matter which way Obama turned, McCain had an Obama bashing ad ready to launch. I guess that’s political hardball. But another word for it is the one word that most politicians are loathe to use about their opponents—a lie.

I can’t say I’m surprised by this. Politics is what it is, and John McCain has shown he is ready, willing, and able to play as dirty and negative as he needs to.

But like Atrios, I am curious as to why the media continues to play along. Especially since this ad was clearly made for the media to report on, not to run as a campaign ad:

WASHINGTON — The number of times Senator John McCain’s new advertisement attacking Senator Barack Obama for canceling a visit with wounded troops in Germany last week has been shown fully or partly on local, national and cable newscasts: well into the hundreds.

The number of times that spot actually, truly ran as a paid commercial: roughly a dozen.

Result for Mr. McCain: a public relations coup that allowed him to show his toughest campaign advertisement of the year — one widely panned as misleading — to millions of people, largely free, through television news media hungry for political news with arresting visual imagery.

Welcome to Swift Boat 2008! This is a perfect example of why liberals say the media is biased. Either our mainstream media are willing participants in this election year kabuki theater, or they are the biggest suckers on the planet because they keep getting played over and over and over again.

Either way, it’s wrong.