Kurtz: What happened to American journalism on Obama’s gun-ban flip-flop?
posted at 3:05 pm on June 27, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Today, Howard Kurtz reminds us why his media column is a must-read at the Washington Post. After Barack Obama’s “inartful” flip-flop on the constitutionality of the DC gun ban and his reversal on supporting it, Kurtz expected to see the facts of the issue laid out properly in media reports today. Unfortunately, his peers around the nation apparently decided to ignore reporting for some first-class misdirection — and Kurtz calls them out on it:
But even though the earlier Obama quote and the “inartful” comment have been bouncing around the Net for 24 hours, I’m not seeing any reference to them in the morning papers. Most do what the New York Times did: “Mr. Obama, who like Mr. McCain has been on record as supporting the individual-rights view, said the ruling would ‘provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.’ ”
Supporting the individual-rights view? Not in November.
Even the Tribune–the very paper that the Obama camp told he supported the gun ban–makes no reference to the November interview. Instead: “Democrat Barack Obama offered a guarded response Thursday to the Supreme Court ruling striking down the District of Columbia’s prohibition on handguns and sidestepped providing a view on the 32-year-old local gun ban. Republican rival John McCain’s campaign accused him of an ‘incredible flip-flop’ on gun control.”
So McCain accuses Obama of a flip-flop, and the Trib can’t check the clips to tell readers whether there’s some basis in fact for the charge?
USA Today takes the same tack:
“In a conference call put together by McCain’s campaign, Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas said . . . that Obama has been changing his position on the gun issue and said the Democratic senator has done some ‘incredible flip-flopping’ on key issue.”
And? And? That’s all we get? He said/he said journalism?
Kurtz kindly references me as one of the conservative blogosphere that actually produced the comparison, as well as many other great bloggers on the right, and even my friends at Newshoggers on the Left, who didn’t buy “inartful” for a moment. Kurtz wonders why the journalists in America’s newsrooms didn’t bother to research what Obama had said. Many of us believe we know the answer already, of course, but at least Kurtz has the spine to scold even his own paper for not sufficiently reporting a major reversal on a major public-policy issue.
Will Kurtz’ colleagues respond?