Shire Network News #138 has been released. The feature interview is with Anne Franklin, a spokesman for Clintons For McCain, Hillary Clinton supporters who are working overtime to defeat Barack Obama in November.  That’s right, independents and Democrats who are so alarmed at the prospect of an Obama presidency that they’re supporting Republican nominee John McCain.  Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to "Consider This!"

Barack Obama is going to Iraq.  Did you know that?  Why of course you did.  The networks are positively swooning over this.  Never mind that John McCain has taken 3 foreign trips in the past 4 months; this is news.  Obama is finally going on a trip, so you just know the media are going to send reporters to cover it.  But not just any reporters, no sir-ee.  The Big 3 US broadcast news organizations are sending their top-dog, big-time new anchors with him.  Never mind that when McCain hits the trail, sometimes he doesn’t get any reporters along, and sometimes CBS has to rearrange its sock drawer that day.

Say it with me kids; In.  The.  Tank.  And drowning.

When John McCain went to Iraq for a week in March, the biggest news from that was that he misspoke about Iran funding Al Qaeda.  CBS managed to squeeze out 31 words the whole week among 10 whole seconds of prime-time news coverage.  That must have hurt.  But now, with their anchors following his every breath, the evening news can open and close with a little Obama vignette, have time for a full-length news story on his visit, and still have a little time left over for…that, um, other guy, McFly something.  Just think of it; in the time it’ll take Katie Couric to introduce herself, CBS will have spent more time on the Obama visit than they did with that, um…other guy. 

But they’ll still look at you with a straight face and tell you that they are objective.  Time and Newsweek will give Obama 12 cover stories to McSomebody’s 5 and still insist that they are balanced. 

But the New York Times, in writing about this media extravaganza, had to grudgingly admit that things did look just a little slanted.

But the coverage also feeds into concerns in Mr. McCain’s campaign, and among Republicans in general, that the news media are imbalanced in their coverage of the candidates, just as aides to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton felt during the primary season.

So you see, it’s not that it’s true, it’s not so much that the numbers and statistics all point the same way.  It’s that this simply "feeds into concerns" about media bias.  Kind of a "nolo contendere" defense.  So yeah, its a grudging admission.  "We apologize if you feel if you have been wronged, but if you were wronged, we didn’t do it, and if we did do it, we didn’t mean it, and if we did mean it, well can you blame us?"

Well, "Yes we can!"  Consider that.

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