The AP has a hidden nugget at the end of its report on the Gwen Ifill controversy. While some have blamed the McCain campaign for agreeing to Ifill as a moderator for tomorrow night’s VP debate while writing a book about “The Age of Barack Obama”, it turns out that Ifill didn’t bother to inform the Commission or the McCain campaign about the book:
The host of PBS’ “Washington Week” and senior correspondent on “The NewsHour” said she did not tell the Commission on Presidential Debates about the book. The commission had no immediate comment when contacted by The Associated Press. A spokeswoman for John McCain’s campaign did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages.
I guess it would be difficult to make a determination on Ifill’s impartiality when she withholds that kind of information. Why didn’t she tell the CPD that she had a book in the works about politics and Barack Obama? Three guesses. After all, authors don’t write books in a day, and it takes up a large amount of time. It’s hardly the kind of information that would have slipped Ifill’s mind.
Ifill tells the AP that the book hardly involves Obama. She also said that the book will discuss a number of other black politicans, including Colin Powell — as if that proves her impartiality. Of course, the book title, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” assumes that there will be an “Age of Obama” — which seems a little presumptuous for a politician who hasn’t even completed his first term in the US Senate. Put it this way: when did the Age of Edwards end?
And if there isn’t an “Age of Obama”, then doesn’t Ifill’s book title look rather … lame?
This isn’t the most egregious foul committed in this campaign, but it’s an embarrassment for the CPD. With a financial stake in the election’s outcome, Ifill shouldn’t even be conducting interviews of the candidates, let alone moderating a debate.