From NBC's Chuck Todd
For the most part, I love reading media watchdog sites. It's a healthy exercise for anyone in this business. But one site, in particular, has a hard time keeping its own bias in check, which of course is beyond ironic.
Yesterday, the liberal watchdog site, Media Matters, posted a fascinating list of "Don'ts" for tonight's CNN debate moderators. Why was the list fascinating? Because of what Media Matters chose to bring up for Obama and Edwards compared to its suggestions for how to address Clinton. Their "don'ts" read more like facetious attacks on Edwards and Obama -- right out of the oppo shop of either the RNC or, say, opponents of Edwards and Obama. By repeating these things, isn't Media Matters doing Clinton or other opponents of Edwards and Obama a favor?
Just putting links in their facetious questions isn't enough to somehow distance themselves from looking as if they are more interested in repeating the personal negatives of Obama and Edwards than, say, any personal negative regarding Clinton.
By the way, since they have so many questions, we have one for them, Don't they need to fully disclose their relationship with Hillary Clinton? After all, at the YearlyKos Convention in Chicago on Aug. 4, she touted her involvement with the group:
"I only wish that we had this active and fighting blogosphere about 15 years ago because we have certainly suffered over the last years from a real imbalance in the political world in our country. But we are righting that balance -- or lefting that balance -- not sure which, and we are certainly better prepared and more focused on taking our arguments and making them effective and disseminating them widely and really putting together a network in the blogosphere in a lot of the new progressive infrastructure -- institutions that I helped to start and support like Media Matters and Center for American Progress. We're beginning to match what I had said for years was the advantage of the other side."
Here are some examples of their "don'ts":
-- Don't contradict your own reporting and suggest that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "cash[ed] in" on a stock deal in which he lost $13,000.
-- Don't say that Obama's position on Pakistan is "very much in line with what" President Bush says regarding Pakistan.
-- Don't contradict your own reporting -- again -- and say that Obama, in following legal requirements to count purchasers of his campaign merchandise as campaign contributors, is "apparently using some creative math" and "overselling his grassroots support."
-- Don't tell Obama that "[i]t's difficult to say that you're against the war and at the same time not say that you're against the troops."
-- Don't suggest that former Sen. John Edwards' (D-NC) work "for financial markets" might "contradict his anti-poverty message."
-- Don't adopt GOP framing and ask Edwards about his "flip-flop" on Iraq "to win the vote."
-- Don't ask about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R) "pretty interesting" quip that "[w]e've had a Congress that's spent money like John Edwards at a beauty shop."
Those were 7 of the first 8 "don't" suggestions... Seriously stunning. We're guessing Edwards and Obama partisans don't believe they need any more "help" from David Brock and his team.
Meanwhile, here are some of the Clinton "don'ts," buried toward the END of this list.
-- Don't base questions on premises that contradict available polling data, such as whether the Clinton campaign -- while leading all other candidates in head-to-head matchups -- is "feeling desperate."
-- Don't ask whether Clinton -- but not former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) -- is "going too far" and "politicizing 9-11" in her campaign ads.
-- Don't hold Democratic and Republican candidates to differing standards regarding the Iraq war and the budget -- for example, by repeating Republican attacks on Obama and Clinton for voting against an Iraq supplemental funding bill without noting that Republican candidates have also voted against Iraq supplementals.
Is Media Matters a liberal/Democratic media watchdog site or a Clinton watchdog site? Judging by this list of "don'ts," it's not easy for one to tell the difference.