Precuse Me, Sir, But What's Really Behind the Conservative Outcry Over Gwen Ifill?

Thursday, October 02, 2008 at 01:10 PM

Boy it's really "unfair" and "unbalanced" for Gwen Ifill to serve as moderator of tonight's Palin-Biden debate, huh? I mean, she must be horribly biased and prejudiced and untrustworthy to cause such an outcry from Malkin to Drudge, to produce so much discussion on Fox, to merit so many news stories on "can she be impartial" (see here, for example).

Question: what has she done? Answer: She found herself the easiest target of a bunch of paid hacks who received marching orders to build a foundation for explaining why Palin did poorly in the debate. Before she even does poorly in the debate. Methinks this is the screw-up version of the ad that claimed McCain "won" his debate with Obama before the debate was held. If you can win a debate that hasn't happened yet, surely you can lose one. right?

In case you've reached the level of political disgust that makes it impossible to pay attention, you know that Ifill is writing a book, scheduled to be published on inauguration day next year, titled The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Since Sarah Palin's recent performances have raised a serious possibility that she may blow this debate higher than Timothy Leary on the day the LSD shipment came in, the right pounced.

The book is "pro-Obama," they screech. This is based on the fact that his name appears in the title. None of the critics have read the book, which isn't even available. From what little info is available, it seems the book is not "about Obama" but the broader context of how we moved from the Civil Rights era to now, where a Black man is running for President on the ticket of a major party.

"She's in the tank for Obama" they whine in tones that shatter glass and reason. Based on....what? That she's Black? An inference from the fact that she appears to be reasonably intelligent, so she couldn't possibly support McCain/Palin? The fact that she can't see NeverNever Land from her house?

"Why didn't she tell the debate commission," they yodel from the lotus position while trying to get a peek at their own anuses. They yodel this, by the way, despite the fact that Ifill has made no effort whatsoever to conceal the fact that she's writing the book. The debate commission, now caught between rockheads and hard faces, is trying to avoid dealing with the question. They know the right is full of crap, but they can't realistically say so.

"She has a financial interest in Obama's victory," the squeal as they paw the mud and slop piles. As though the book would somehow sell fewer copies if Obama lost. The subject of the book, remember, is "politics and race" in the "age of Obama." Trust me, an Obama loss would make the interplay of politics and race an even hotter topic than it is now.

This is all utter nonsense, and has nothing whatsoever to do with Gwen Infill's objectivity. It is the age old "precuse," the excuse offered up before there is a need for an excuse, based on the frightening possibility that there will be a need for an excuse in the immediate future. Now if Palin says that she can see NATO from her deck, or can't name a single Justice of the Supreme Court, or commits any of the other innumerable possible blunders in her debate, the rabid, rampant right can explain it all away in short hand. No need for long winded rationalizations or revisions of history. Now all that will be required is a simple, "See? Gwen Ifill. We told you."

And, of course, just about every shill who got the talking points memo about Ifill is, in fact, a paid shill posturing as an objective journalist or observer. Just about every one has an incredibly strong interest in the far right agenda because, without it, they are nobody. N O B O D Y.

What a sorry time--what a sorry screeching, whining, squealing, yodeling time--this is for America.

See? I told you.


Wait, so you're saying that the Commission is responsible for policing a news veteran with 30 years of experience? She has the responsibility to disclose actions that could affect the public's opinion of her impartiality, plain and simple. If she did and the Commission allowed her to continue, there would be no issue.

I said no such thing. What I said is that this is largely a lot of deliberate hooey.

Any breach of ethics by Ifill--if any exists at all--is so minor it's laughable. To claim that she will be biased based on the book she's writing is pure political crap.