The Media

More Evidence, Indeed

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Well, in anticipation of Senator Clinton’s departure from the race, the knives at America’s leading papers are sharpening for use against Barack Obama, if today’s editorial piece by David Ignatius is any indication.

You can read Ignatius’s hit piece for yourself if you like, but I’d like to focus on the last paragraph, where he writes:

No one who has watched Obama’s sweep toward the nomination would say it’s impossible that he can be the great uniter. I just wish we had more evidence.

In support of his thesis in the piece, Ignatius offers some weak evidence and these two quotes:

One Chicago pol says that “the myth developed that when there was a tough vote, he was gone.”

and

“The authentic Barack Obama? We just don’t know. The level of uncertainty is too high,” one Democratic senator told me last week. He noted that Obama hasn’t been involved in any “transformative battles” where he might anger any of the party’s interest groups. “If his voting record in the past is the real Barack Obama, then there isn’t going to be any bipartisanship,” this senator cautioned.

Oh, yes, the hallmark of responsible journalism, the unattributed source. I’m certain that there are no politicians in Chicago who might have disagreements with Senator Obama, so this is undoubtedly a good source. It’s an especially valuable source, given his apparent lack of party affiliation.

As for the Senate Democratic source, doesn’t it seem like a relevant piece of information to note which Democratic candidate he/she supports? This is crazy stuff, but that might just influence a person’s desire to speak ill of a candidate.

Unnamed sources are essential for journalism, to protect people who face retribution or inequitable power relationships. They’re certainly not appropriate for use when a U.S. Senator wants to trash another politician. As long as journalists rely on this kind of lazy reporting, isn’t news analysis just going to be an extension of partisan, personal sniping, rather than real information?

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

6 Comments

  • If you are interested in a more full account of Barack’s less than clear record, you should read this editorial by Joseph C. Wilson.

    I suspect Mr. Wilson has his biases, but he does give better supporting evidence than Mr. Ignatius.

    Also, if you are interested in another account of Obama’s voting record as scored by the National Journal.

  • Thanks for the link. It’s certainly fair to critique the record of Senator Obama, or any candidate. I am just tired of the played out old unnamed source game to do it.

    I’ll check out the story, though.

  • Well, I won’t try to hide my anti-Obama sympathies (weakly held as they may be), but I agree that any critique of any candidate has to be well founded and well-documented. And I am glad to hear others expressing that same desire.

    Both of the dumber critiques on Obama, as an Islamic terrorist or sympathizer therein, or as a former drug addict disgust me as an American and a as person with a functioning brain.

    I just thought I’d provide some further information. I am not sure either of those articles comes around to fully answering the question of Obama’s record, and there is certainly room for debate. I was just hoping to further it for you and your readers.

    Glad to see you posting again.

  • *An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  • *There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  • The following time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I do know it was my option to learn, but I actually thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you might fix when you werent too busy in search of attention.

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