Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

2012 VP Debate: Joe Biden had to show when Paul Ryan was lyin’

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Somewhere in Alaska, Sarah Palin is pissed.

The former vice presidential candidate is working on a diet and fitness book while Paul Ryan enjoys “credibility” with the establishment. Palin can understandably be confused by a world where she was considered incompetent and Ryan is treated as a candidate not just for vice president but possibly president in 2016.

This isn’t to say that Palin was competent; just that the different between her and Ryan was studying a little bit harder before accepting the VP nominee.

Ryan comes across as smart, but the smartest thing Ryan has done is be better at Sarah Palin on the conservative mantra and in lying.

Palin wasn’t asked terribly hard questions. Charles Gibson and Katie Couric aren’t very good journalists and they weren’t even at their best. The press pounced on her in part because her early answers were so clueless.

Ryan has been at the deception and lying game much longer than Palin and he is much better at it. After all, Ryan dodged any specifics on how the tax cuts will be “revenue neutral” on Fox News — on Fox NEWS.

Since we don’t believe in coincidences, we did notice that the documentary “As Goes Janesville” made its debut on Independent Lens on PBS last week. Not that the documentary makers thought when they started the project that Paul Ryan would be the VP pick, but they sure benefited from his candidacy.

Independent Lens only showed ⅔ of the film. From what we saw, the powers that be in Janesville love putting their eggs in one basket. This was bad enough when the GM plant was the major jobs source. After the plant closed, they were trying the same strategy on a company that wasn’t even sure if they were going to build something. The other depressing point is that they get sucked up into Scott Walker’s union bashing tactics. The Koch brothers sponsored candidate wasn’t about job creation; just blaming the unions that didn’t vote for him. Remember that Walker spared those unions that supported him during the campaign. A politician of principle would have done the same thing to all public unions. Walker didn’t do that.

Mitt Romney was hyperactive and acting like a bully to the moderator in his debate. The MSM gave him love and kisses for that behavior. Joe Biden stood his ground, debating, and the MSM jumps on him for acting like a bully in his debate. Huh?

The MSM always wants a close race and you could feel the pressure on them when Obama was doing well and Romney kept putting his foot in his mouth. The funny part is people talking about the momentum Romney got after the first debate. His momentum was nothing compared to the momentum from the MSM. They went gangbusters on the campaign.

The MSM has always rewarded style over substance. The 2012 campaign has sunk to a new low, which we didn’t think was possible. Whether President Obama likes it or not, he now has to respond to that narrative to keep the MSM at bay. Mitt Romney may not bury Obama, but the MSM will. And the media isn’t on the ballot.

Big Bird did something on Weekend Update that Seth Meyers hasn’t been able to do: make me laugh.

Big Bird came up to defend, as it were, the coverage based on Mitt Romney’s call to defund Big Bird.

Big Bird came across as funny, charming, sincere, honest, and non-political. Though American voters secretly love the infighting that is a campaign, they say they would rather have behavior shown by Big Bird in their candidates. Don’t think Big Bird can run for president; some people are disappointed by that news.

The MSM admonished the Obama campaign for focusing too much on Big Bird. While these debates are filled with wonkish details of tax plans, small items such as Romney’s attack on Big Bird get more attention at the end of the debate. The Obama campaign pointed out an overlooked element in the Republican platform. They focus on deficits when the president is from the Democratic Party, and they are more concerned about ideology than reducing the deficit.

Spending a little money that turns into more money — investment — is something you want to keep in a budget. The small amount of money that goes to the Corporation of Public Broadcasting turns into much more money thanks to sponsors and pledges. And the cuts wouldn’t hurt Big Bird, but instead would shut down PBS stations in smaller markets, many of them in the red states.

Speaking of “Saturday Night Live,” when they were teasing the Thursday night updates, they played a clip of Jason Sudeikis doing an impression of Mitt Romney about the 47%. Yet the show never aired the actual comedy skit. Was censorship, self-imposed or otherwise, the reason why that never aired? After all, SNL has done an overbearing take on Obama, Biden, and the MSNBC team — all liberal targets. Ignoring Romney’s 47% is something even the SNL of 2008 would have failed to do. Airing the clip might be “too late, but in the spirit of fairness (and humor), NBC should still air it. At least, we deserve an explanation.

The MSM spent some time debating the viability of Martha Raddatz as a moderator because President Barack Obama attended Raddatz’s first wedding … in 1991. I discovered this by watching Morning Joe the morning of the debate. The discussion centered around whether Raddatz could be unbiased based on this information.

During the conversation, Joe Scarborough pointed out that if this had happened on the other side that The New York Times would put this on the front page. That fact that he appeared to say this without irony means he conveniently forgot what happened to his network four years ago.

Tom Brokaw was thrust into the spotlight in 2008 after the death of Tim Russert. NBC debated about various inside personnel (Chuck Todd, David Gregory, Keith Olbermann) before letting Brokaw handle duties on an interim basis.

The McCain campaign threatened not to have NBC involved in a debate because of their criticism of the coverage, most notably on MSNBC. Brokaw met with the McCain campaign to convince them to let the network have a debate. Brokaw also later put pressure on NBC to remove Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as anchors of MSNBC election coverage. The network subsequently demoted Olbermann and Matthews.

Just before the debate that Brokaw moderated, he ended an episode of “Meet the Press” by falsely quoting poll numbers giving McCain an advantage he didn’t have.

Brokaw later was the moderator for the town hall debate in Nashville.

In reporting this story at the time, I remarked on how this would impact Brokaw’s reputation as a newsperson. Then again, his career wasn’t as remarkable as his reputation would lead otherwise.

“Brokaw was the milquetoast anchor of the Big Three in the 1980s and 1990s. Never the great reporter such as Dan Rather nor did he have the curiosity and worldliness of Peter Jennings, Brokaw was always the favorite son of the corporate media. He liked The Greatest Generation and wrote about them. He never stirred the pot, but never did anything great either.”

Steve Schmidt was on the set of “Morning Joe” as they were discussing the Raddatz story. Schmidt is a MSNBC contributor. Given Schmidt’s role in the McCain campaign, he either had some role in those Brokaw conversations or certainly has some idea what happened. Yet we heard nothing.

Scarborough is right in that The New York Times did run the story, though not on the front page. Very few MSM outlets picked up on the story.

Raddatz and Obama were at the same social event 21 years ago. And she was the bride, so she was presumably distracted that day by being the bridge. Brokaw and McCain’s people met about a month before the debate. Even Paul Ryan could figure out which incident shows bias.

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