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By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2004 3:31pm PT  

...As it might have sounded if George W. Bush had been a Democrat and Karl Rove was in charge of the Fox News broadcast.

Very funny. Give it a look. (Thanks to Amir for the link.)

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2004 3:22pm PT  

As a sidebar to the previous item, I'd add that C-SPAN rocks. We were able to view the entire debate again last night in re-run via C-SPAN's "Debate Podium Watch", a single split-screen shot of both candidates at the same time throughout the entire debate without cut-aways.

C-SPAN has that version of the debate online via this link if you care to watch. On a second viewing, with this split-screen, it was instructive to be able to watch the body language of both men. Dubya's continuous drinking throughout the night from the same empty water glass was a hoot. As was his continued "blinking like a baby bird", as the Jimmy Kimmel Show referred to it.

Watching C-SPAN's unedited cuts and open mics from Spin Alley afterwards, without media commentary, was also rather addictive. Most notably, watching Karl Rove repeatedly attempting to sell his planned pre-debate spin ("Kerry was inconsistent, a flip-flopper, incoherent, has no clear beliefs" etc.) to the stultified media guppies was informative. The lines he was attempting to sell, in light of the reality of the debate and the very clear positions expressed by Kerry, became simply inoperable after the debate. Yet Rove, surprisingly, didn't yet have anything else to sell.

One other point to watch in the next debate; Fox News was in charge of the pool cameras this time around, and they managed their camera angles so that both Bush and Kerry appeared to be the same height as they stood at the podiums in close-up. Kerry is about four inches taller, yet the split-screen view from C-SPAN clearly shows how the framing of the two candidates was different in order to make them appear the same height. Watch for the tiny mic that Bush had versus the long one that Kerry had (fill in your own joke here). It'll be interesting to see if the framing is similarly skewed in the next podium debate when Fox isn't manning the cameras.

ReddIt this story!



Who Won Last Night? America.
By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2004 3:03pm PT  

The one thing I've repeatedly heard since last night after the first debate of the season are various versions of "He didn't appear anything like I'd expected him to."

The refrain has come most often from folks on the Right last night and today about both Bush and Kerry. They thought John Kerry would be appear as a confused, weak, prolix flip-flopper and they expected that Bush would demonstrate himself to be strong, resolute and in command of the Foreign Policy debate (which the Bush campaign fought hard to have as the first, and historically most-watched, evening).

Why the surpise from those folks? Apparently, they really have been able to convince themselves of their own spin, and that of the media. The picture that has been painted of these two guys for months is exactly the opposite of reality. Last night, without the media filter in place, the spinners, the quotes taken out of context, and with someone who was actually able to respond to the nonsense Bush spouts every day at his rallies, the picture was vastly different than the distorted mythology the Right has worked so hard to create.

The Bush camp has for months kept their man isolated from reality and opposing positions everywhere from the Campaign Trail to the White House itself. So much so, that he simply floundered like a fish out of water without his usual protective filters in place. Anyone who's paid attention to what Bush has actually said and done was not surprised at all by his appearance last night. Most Americans, who haven't been able to see through the media filter, saw something that hadn't seen before.

For Kerry's part, the media had done a superb job of joining hands with the Republican Media Masters to create a picture of Kerry as something he isn't. And again, in a situation where he couldn't be quoted out of context, or simply misquoted and tendentiously "defined" by the opposition, it came as a shock to many when they actually had the opportunity to see John Kerry with their own eyes instead of Karl Rove's, Rush's or Drudge's.

As a result, last night's Debate was a terrific victory for Democracy, even in light of the attempts made by the candidates (mostly the Bush camp according to reports) to squeeze as much reality out of the process as they could. Both reality --- and the American people --- won out in the end.

Mind you, when Reagan was running for re-election, he too lost the first debate in a big way, but came back to win. As well, the consensus after Gore's first debate in 2000 was also that he won. So there's still a long way to go here before the celebrations should begin. But with two more chances to see both candidates without the filter, Americans should have a much better chance of overcoming the obstacles that the Republicans have erected in order to keep Americans from learning the truth about both of these men.

ReddIt this story!



Joining the Bush 'Anything to Win' Campaign apparently.
By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2004 1:51pm PT  

We've reported here on Sean Hannity simply making up quotes on his own show. Even while he calls for the resignation of Dan Rather who may have made a journalistic error --- a far cry from simply "lying" as Sean Hannity did.

Well, the Hannitization of Fox News may now be complete. See this story from Josh Marshall about what appeared on the front page of Fox's website this morning, then read down the next few items. Quotes made up out of whole cloth and attributed to John Kerry. The story has since been removed from Fox's website without explanation. Josh has the whole thing.

(Hat tip to Bryan for the link!)

UPDATE: Fox News has issued an apology and a retraction, but has failed to publically acknowledge that the reporter who wrote this bogus story was "Campaign" Carl Cameron who covers the Kerry campaign for Fox. It should also be noted (since Fox doesn't bother to) that Cameron's wife works for the Bush campaign. Amongst the made up quotes attributed to Kerry and which made their way onto the front page of Fox's website today: "Women should like me! I do manicures" and "I'm metrosexual — he's a cowboy." Josh Marshall has the latest on the story. Click it, and keep reading on down the page.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2004 1:15pm PT  

As BRAD BLOG tipster Johnhp pointed out via Email, "First we found out that Clarence Thomas is a porn viewer. Then Jerry Falwell says on CNN that 'anything' is permissable within the marriage bed (for some reason the image of Macel lubing up a strap on just creeps me out)."

Yet they aren't the only "conservatives" who may have a creepy side that would bely their hoped-for public image. This story just came out of the Harvard Crimson (currently the link is overwhelmed), so here's the Guardian's take on Scalia's recent statement:

[I]t turns out that there is another side to Justice Antonin Scalia: he thinks Americans ought to be having more orgies.

Challenged about his views on sexual morality, Justice Scalia surprised his audience at Harvard University, telling them: "I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged."

It seems unlikely that this is what President Bush meant when he promised to appoint more judges like Scalia to the court, should the opportunity arise.

Ewww...Johnhp goes on: "i guess, let's go in the cloak room and read each other's briefs means something different on the SCOTUS now. "Hey Ruth, Clarence and i are going out for drinks later....."

How did that pubic hair get on his coke can anyway?

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2004 11:59am PT  

Well, apparently these guys have got nothing. Even Rush was hard pressed to come up with any ammo to use against Kerry. They seem to be trying to get some mileage out of Kerry's "global test" statement. But in light of what Kerry actually said in the debate, once the media filter was out of the way, such attempts to misstate Kerry's comments don't seem to be working anymore. They all seem so...September 29th.

More on all that shortly, but for now, Rush has been flailing for the last three hours, and the best he can come up with is calling Senator Kerry "that little S.O.B." in the first hour. Later, he spoke of the "hate groups on the Left who are coming unhinged."

What does that tell you about the vacuity and desperation of these folks on the right? Oh, that, and "Kerry was getting primped and coiffed and manicured in preperation for the debate, while Bush was touring the devasted areas of Florida". So apparently he didn't really have the time to prepare. As usual, there is always an excuse for everything Bush does. Nothing is ever his fault.

They're shooting blanks, folks.

UPDATE/AFTER-THOUGHTS: Sean is still trying to sell his "I've never seen the President more passionate and more articulate" line as of the opening of his radio show today. And to Rush's "little S.O.B." comment, I'm reminded of Bush Sr's reference to Clinton/Gore as "those two bozos" in the waning days of his failed Presidency. So far, we haven't heard Bush Jr. himself turn that verbally desperate --- yet --- but if things keep swinging against him, listen for it. It's coming.

ReddIt this story!



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