The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Obama shoud ask Gwen Ifill to bow out as debate moderator

Posted by Bill Nance on October 2, 2008

Apparently Gwen Ifill, who’s slated to moderate tonight’s Vice-Presidential debate, is working on a book tentatively entitled: “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.”

Republicans are already starting the spin that she will be “mean” to poor little Sarah Palin, who’s too delicate to stand up to journalists. -As though someone aspiring to the VP slot shouldn’t be tough enough to manage a hostile journalist. pfft.

I won’t go into Ifill’s journalistic credentials, which are frankly beyond reproach. But the McCain campaign is claiming she failed to disclose the book.

This is a flat-out lie.

From the Washington Times, a newspaper I guarantee you the McCain campaign reads:

We have an awkward history about how to talk about race in the nation and in newsrooms,” says Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent for PBS’ “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer” and author of “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” slated for publication early next year.

The above was reported in the Times and picked up by the Associated Press on July 23rd. Weeks before Ifill’s selection.

Lies from the McCain campaign should surprise no one. But though Ifill has said the book is more of a historical perspective than anything else, and doesn’t dwell on Obama in particular, there’s no way in Hell the average American will be able to grasp that, especially when the McCain campaign will be shouting “media bias” from the roof-tops.

From a strictly partisan point of view, I would say this new lie is a big deal for the Obama team. No matter how badly Sarah Palin performs tonight, the Republicans will spin this as simply a result of Ifill’s “media bias.”

The Obama campaign should ask Ifill to step down and turn the moderator position over to Jim Lehrer. I doubt the Republicans will go for it, but I hope the attempt will be made. If the Republicans nix Lehrer after they already approved him as moderator, Democrats have a fairly powerful counter-spin.

Only one side in tonight’s debate has real reason to sweat. Joe Biden can manage well no matter who the moderator happens to be. If the Obama team calls for Ifill to step down in favor of Lehrer, they win on points no matter who the moderator turns out to be.


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