Hillary Clinton "Kitchen Sinked" Obama.
That phrase, meaning she threw everything, including the kitchen sink at Obama, will now take it's place next to "Swift Boating" in the American lexicon of colorful political shorthand.
How does one "kitchen sink" an opponent? One waits until the 11th hour of a campaign. Then one flacks the press with a rapid fire combination of commercial messages, language and positioning. Insinuations and half truths are spun with opinions that would make a pit-bull dog pause for breath.
When the flack began to fill the airwaves on Monday I noticed how little journalistic work or editorial control was actually being done. The need for speed had disabled deliberation. The Clinton campaign announced it's story and the reporters of the commercial media dutifully flocked to Texas and presented it to Senator Obama in the form of questions at a news conference.
This is the sorry state of our "popular" news media during the most important Presidential election in a generation. And by the way, this isn't just about Senator Clinton. This is about how news organizations have covered national stories since before and after 911. She is merely exploiting their obvious weakness.
Let's say that someone in the Obama camp were to state tomorrow morning that Hillary Clinton made a deal with a Mexican Mafia associate to deliver votes in Texas. Let's say the claim was based on a statement made by a convicted drug dealer in a Mexican jail. Shouldn't a reporter check out the source before delivering an accusatory quote and demanding a response? If the story can't be confirmed as fact shouldn't it be obvious that she need not defend herself to the press?
There is a reckless and irresponsible trend that is damaging the electoral process.
Watch dogging the candidates and their claims is what the news media should be doing. As things stand, The Clinton campaign gets away with the airy claim that they are merely "vetting" their opponent. And why shouldn't they? We don't have editors who stop rumor mongering or reporters who check facts before filing stories. What we're getting is press releases and short attention span theater.
"....John McCain is old. Senator Obama: Is he half black or half white? And Hillary Clinton is a bitch. More after this..."
America's largest news organizations have lost control of the election story. If they want it back, they're going to have to become damn good journalists.
UPDATE 3.6.08 (8:29 AM)
More information has come to light about a Canadian story picked up by US media regarding The Obama campaign and NAFTA. This new report from the Globe and Mail (Toronto) says that Stephen Harper's Chief of Staff, Ian Brodie, said the Clinton campaign, not the Obama campaign had tried to reassure the Canadian government about NAFTA.
"OTTAWA — The leak of a confidential diplomatic discussion that rocked the U.S. presidential campaign began with an offhand remark to journalists from the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Ian Brodie."
"...Mr. Brodie said that someone from Ms. Clinton's campaign called and was "telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt."
The story was followed by CTV's Washington bureau chief, Tom Clark, who reported that the Obama campaign, not Clinton's, had reassured Canadian diplomats.
Mr. Clark cited unnamed Canadian sources in his initial report.
There was no explanation last night for why Mr. Brodie was said to have referred to the Clinton campaign but the news report was about the Obama campaign. Robert Hurst, president of CTV News, declined to comment."
UPDATE: 3.6.08 (10:30 AM)
Check this out:
From ABC NEWS.COM - Political Punch by Jake Tapper - NAFTA Confusion
"Buried in a Canadian Press story about the NAFTA controversy is the intriguing notion that all of this began, as ABC News'Jennifer Parker has reported, with the Canadian Prime Minister's chief of staff, Ian Brodie."
Read the linked Feb. 29 story by Jennifer Parker. ABC News knew the story went from Ian Brodie to CTV.
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