Via the Newsbusters, Joe Scarborough belatedly discovers the vast difference in how the media treated Barack Obama and Sarah Palin in this election. As I mentioned a number of times, the national media rushed to Wasilla to cover the gripping saga of Palin’s used tanning bed while no one in two years bothered to do any investigative work on Obama and his Chicago connections. Better late than never … well, not really:
The best part of the exchange? Mainstream media reporters Mike Barnicle and John Harwood defending ignorance:
SCARBOROUGH: OK, then tell me this–yeah, Lizza’s the only one that wrote about it and he got kicked off the campaign plane. So here’s my question for you: if we know so much about this, answer this question. Did Barack Obama, was Barack Obama intimately involved in Blagojevich’s 2002 campaign?
HARWOOD: He was involved, I don’t know how intimately.
SCARBOROUGH: Why? Why don’t you know that?
HARWOOD: I’m not sure how to factor out the BS quotient in that quote you were talking about.
SCARBOROUGH: Why can’t you factor that out?
HARWOOD: Well, because it’s not a story I personally covered.
SCARBOROUGH: I know, but why didn’t somebody investigate this six months ago when Ryan Lizza wrote it? It’s pretty fascinating, because in 2008 we knew he was the most corrupt governor in America.
MIKE BARNICLE: Let me put my newspaper columnist/newspaper editor hat on for you to answer your question about Wasilla, Alaska as opposed to the Blagojevich administration.
SCARBOROUGH: Not Blagojevich–Barack Obama.
BARNICLE: Whatever. She was the next, new face. No one had ever heard of her. So you’re going to send as many people as you can afford up to Alaska to explain to the reading public who she is. You’re sitting there, you know Obama, you know the governor of Illinois —
SCARBOROUGH: You don’t know Obama. You can’t even tell me whether he ran the 2002 campaign of the most corrupt governor in America.
BARNICLE: I can tell you this much: he was a state senator then, and he ran that campaign about as much as I did.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh really? How do you know that?
BARNICLE: Just instinct.
SCARBOROUGH [at moment of screencap]: Newspaper editor: shouldn’t we have facts instead of instinct? That’s what everybody’s working on: instinct! You know what? I like him! So I expect that he’s a really good guy. I hope if I ever run for politics again, I am given this much benefit of the doubt.
Barack Obama was the new guy in 2007, to answer Harwood’s assertion personally. Why didn’t anyone bother then to give him the Palin treatment? I’d suggest that, at least in part, no one expected Obama to win the nomination. He became a good story as a counterweight to the overwhelming assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to have a coronation as the party nominee. By the time Obama looked like a threat, no one seemed interested in ruining a good story.
On the other hand, Palin came almost out of nowhere (we covered her extensively here at Hot Air as a dark-horse VP possibility), and they had nine weeks to build a story line rather than two years. Of course, that meant that the Tanning Bed Media couldn’t operate off of “instinct” or “feelings” and just let Palin define herself the way they allowed Obama to do for himself. No, the TBM had to airdrop dozens of reporters into Alaska to dig up dirt on her.
Scarborough actually lets these two get off much too easily. The “instinct” argument displays obvious and objectionable bias. They should be embarrassed.