I've said it before, and I say it again, the place for opinions in the print media is on their editorial pages. But are four editorials in 10 days a bit of piling on?
That's what our local paper, The Blade, has done with the vice presidential pick of Gov. Sarah Palin.
They start on Aug. 30 with "McCain's Machinations," where they dismiss her experience as a governor and mayor, saying McCain picked "a candidate who makes Mr. Obama's resume seem substantial by comparison."
On Sept. 4, they claim that McCain's selection is a 'cynical ploy' designed to distract Americans from the issues. They also tell you that McCain, with his many years in the Senate, is perpetuating the problem - even though his opponents have more combined years in that body than he does. They also make a point of implying that her family obligations are enough to prevent her from doing her job well - an issue that has gotten way too much coverage in this day and age when women are told they can have it all.
Three days later, on Sept. 7, they call Palin a dog in their editorial, "Palin as pit bull." They say she gave a good speech at the Republican Convention, but that it was light on facts and details. Perhaps they missed Sen. Barack Obama's speech? It was equally light on facts and details, especially on how he was going to fund all those give-aways he was promising, but received no such editorial.
While even Democrats acknowledged she hit some sore points with some of her comments - and the way they began defending against them certainly proves that - The Blade editorial board wrote, "Her zingers about the Democratic ticket tended to slide around reality, to be charitable,..." I think that means they think she lied, but they provide no evidence that anything she said about her opponents was inaccurate.
Today's editorial, "Northern Exposure," (wonder if that's a violation of copyright on the TV series?) critiques her record. While such a critique is appropriate for the editorial page, it wasn't something that's been done with her opponents.
I have no problem with such attention to detail when it comes to a candidate's record, but the bias comes into play when you do it for one candidate, but not the other. If people need to know the Republican Vice Presidential candidate's record, shouldn't we also know the Democrat's? And certainly, if such a critique is warranted, it is warranted for the Presidential candidates from both parties.
I've already pointed out the lack of intellectual honesty in news of the campaigns, but four editorials in 10 days is part of the reason why so many people, especially women, think the piling on is too much. It's also showing signs of backfiring on liberals, with some voters looking more favorably at the McCain-Palin ticket because of the excessive negativity being heaped on Palin. And it's cost at least two MSNBC anchors their election coverage positions.
As a former Republican elected official who survived four very tough campaigns in Democrat-dominated jurisdictions, I don't have a problem with intense media coverage and tough questions. I do have a problem, however, when the tough questions are directly only to me and not to my opponents. Knowing I was going to be scrutinized more because I was Republican made me better prepared to handle all sorts of inquiries - and that made me not only a better (and successful) candidate, but it made me a better elected official as well, contributing to my reputation for 'always doing my homework.' I'm certain Sarah Palin feels the same way.
But if the media wants to help voters really know the candidates, they won't reserve such treatment only for the candidate(s) they hope will lose. Perhaps that's the point. Perhaps, in their hearts, they know that the American public wouldn't support their favored candidates if they really knew the objective and unbiased truth about them, so they don't tell you.
Of course, such activity leads to a loss of readers, declining sales and a loss of credibility - which is where many in the media find themselves today, with so many people turning to alternative sources for their news. So maybe this isn't such a bad thing after all.