Diary

Suddenly The Media is Concerned About Vetting A Candidate

VettedNot so long ago the mainstream media didn’t appear too interested in doing the job of vetting the dirty laundry of certain candidates running for the two top jobs in American politics. In fact it was a little over one weekend ago that the media’s silence on Barack Obama’s background indicated that it did not matter what skeletons were in his closet.

But now that John McCain named Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate that has all changed. On August 31st the narrative began to form. The Huffington Post and The Atlantic.com were some of the first to sow the seeds of doubt. Much of this was in response to a Washington Post Article that allowed McCain staffers to explain that she had indeed been vetted just as much as anyone else.

Soon the rumors and mudslinging began. They inferred that McCain staffers never looked at Palin’s hometown newspaper. Others claim that the McCain camp haphazardly made the choice without properly doing an FBI background check on the two time mayor and new Governor of Alaska.But there’s more. Did the McCain camp even know that Sarah Palin’s daughter was pregnant? Or how about the investigation into the firing of Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan? Did the McCain camp care about the possible conflict of interest?

Even liberal themes are suddenly scandalous. Sarah Palin raised sales taxes as a mayor, opposed windfall profit taxes for oil companies and, gasp, canceled the bridge to nowhere, but not really as it was doomed anyway.

It doesn’t matter that much of this chatter by the chattering class is of little consequence when compared to the many unanswered questions concerning the vetting of Barack Obama. It is the narrative that is important. The Democratic talking point that the McCain camp was haphazard in their rush to pick Sarah Palin is all the media cares to promote.

Here we sit on the third day since the questions about McCain’s vetting process were first posed and the media is still beating that drum. I am not just talking left leaning blogs like Talking Points Memo and the Daily Kos here. I am referring to The New York Times, The Houston Chronicle, The LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, MSNBC, Time Magazine here, and here, The Boston Globe AGAIN via The Associated Press, an on and on and on… All of these mainstream media outlets are on the same page.

Contrast the media’s need to dig up supposed dirt that they imagine the McCain camp does not want us to know about Sarah Palin to that of Barack Obama’s past that the media apparently doesn’t want anyone talking about.

One of many questions that still remains unanswered and largely ignored by the mainstream media is that of both Michelle and Barack Obama’s relationship with former terrorist Bernardine Dohrn. Forget William Ayers for a moment. I would like to know why the mainstream media is so wrapped up over the implications of an unmarried 17 year old daughter of a Republican Vice President candidate yet they aren’t in the least bit concerned that Barack Obama launched his political career at the home of two former terrorists, one of whom traveled to Cuba in 1969 to meet with communist representatives of the North Vietnamese government at the same time that John McCain was being held and tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The fact that Barack and Michelle Obama were having wine and breaking bread with an American terrorist that met with the captor of Barack Obama’s opponent is real news. But not to an Obama obsessed media that would rather campaign for him than inform the American people of his past. After all, the duty to inform is one of the prime directives of journalism. If members of the media can’t do this simple job then why write in the first place?

To be fair some are asking relevant questions about Barack Obama’s past; only to be largely ignored. John Fund of the Wall Street Journal took the mainstream media to task for allowing the Obama campaign to successfully resist a full examination of their records. But that report preceded the frenzy to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin and run with the new narrative. Thus the Obama campaign once again dodged a bullet thanks to a mainstream media that does not want to vet his past lest Americans ask more questions about a candidate they have been in the bag for ever since he showed up on their political radar.

Terry Trippany is the publisher of Webloggin, a contributing writer at Newsbusters and The Watcher at Watcher of Weasels.