2008 Christopher Hitchens to Media: Stop Covering Palin
posted by October 20 at 17:37 PMon
Hitchens says on Slate today…
At numerous rallies where the atmosphere has been, shall we say, a little uncivil, Gov. Palin has accused Sen. Obama of accusing our forces in Afghanistan of simply bombing villages. Only a moment’s work is required to discover that the words complained of were never uttered in that form and that they occurred in a speech that stressed the need for more ground troops as opposed to more airstrikes…. Did Palin know that she was telling a lie? Or did her handlers simply assume that she would read anything that was put in front of her, however mendacious? And which would be worse? And when will she issue the needful retraction? There seems no way of putting her in a forum where these points could be raised. So, continued media coverage of her appearances is no better than lending a megaphone to a demagogue, the better to amplify her propaganda.
…what I said on Slog back on September 23…
Maybe it’s time for the media to pull all reporters—print and television, photographers and videographers—off the McCain campaign. Entirely. Press coverage of a campaign is supposed to be a two-way street. The candidate wants to get his mug on television, he wants his rallies and speeches broadcast and written up, he wants to use the media to reach the voters. In exchange for allowing themselves to be used, the candidate is supposed to make himself available to reporters and anchors, answer questions, hold press conferences. The McCain campaign isn’t holding up its end of the deal. It’s using the media to reach voters without making Palin and, increasingly, McCain available for questioning.
Why should the media play along? The media should pull reporters off the McCain campaign and refuse to cover rallies or speeches until McCain and Palin start holding press conferences. Period.