Patterico's Pontifications

11/30/2007

L.A. Times: BarackObama.com Is Merely a “Social Networking Site”

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 2:52 am

An L.A. Times story, which discusses the YouTube debate questioners’ undisclosed ties to Democrats, says of a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” question by Retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr:

Although the retired military man and Clinton’s camp said the Democratic candidate had nothing to do with the question, CNN apologized. David Bohrman, executive producer of the debate, said the network wanted to avoid “gotcha” questions from clear Democratic partisans and would not have allowed the query if it had known of Kerr’s ties to the Clinton campaign.

But several Internet commentators said the cable-TV network should have screened out Democratic partisans, who they said “hijacked” the Republican forum. In postings that popped up throughout the day Thursday, they said that: A Texas woman identified only as “Journey,” who asked if women should be punished for having abortions, had appeared in another YouTube video wearing a “John Edwards ’08″ T-shirt; a man asking a question during the debate about gay rights had also appeared on a social networking site as a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and a Manhattan Beach man — while tasting an ear of corn and asking a tough question about farm subsidies — had once worked as a summer intern for Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice).

A “social networking site”?

David Cercone appeared as a supporter of BarackObama . . . on BarackObama.com! It is the official website for Obama’s presidential campaign. Cercone had been a member there since July.

obama-supporter.JPG

The URL for the screenshot is http://nh.barackobama.com/page/community/post/racismaliveinsouth/CN4s. The URL “nh.barackobama.com” is simply the New Hampshire subdomain for BarackObama.com. BarackObama.com has a donate button which you can use to make contributions to his campaign.

How does the L.A. Times justify referring to an official campaign website as a “social networking site”? Even accepting the fact that Obama’s campaign website is set up with social networking features, it is nevertheless his official campaign website. It is inexcusable for this paper to omit any mention of the fact that this “social networking site” is officially connected with Obama’s campaign.

And, by the way — the woman who had the John Edwards ’08 shirt on? She also has this button on her LiveJournal profile (on a blog that, according to Michelle Malkin, is linked from her YouTube profile):

edwards-supporter.JPG

The article is designed to make it seem like the Republican debate was just as balanced as the Democrat debate was. The article strains to find Republican ties to questioners at the Democrat debate (while ignoring the plethora of documented ties between Democrats and the questioners in the Democrat debate). Thus, we are told, the genuine Republican perspective was represented at the Democrat debate, because it was a Republican who hugged his gun and called it his baby, prompting Joe Biden to joke: “I don’t know that he is mentally qualified to own that gun.”

But wait a second. If CNN apologized for Kerr’s question, and said that CNN “would not have allowed the query if it had known of Kerr’s ties to the Clinton campaign” — then why didn’t CNN apologize for a question by a guy who is a declared Obama supporter blogging on Barack Obama’s official campaign website? And why didn’t CNN apologize for a question by a woman who is a declared Edwards supporter?

And why didn’t the L.A. Times press CNN harder about this?

UPDATE/CORRECTION: The John Edwards button is not directly on the questioner’s YouTube profile as I had originally said, but rather on her LiveJournal profile, which is reachable from her YouTube profile. I have clarified this in the post above. Thanks to Christoph.

61 Comments

  1. This is, arguably, the funniest post I’ve read on this issue.

    “How does the L.A. Times justify referring to an official campaign website as a “social networking site”?”

    Ha!

    Comment by Christoph (92b8f7) — 11/30/2007 @ 3:06 am

  2. Minor correction, Patterico: The “I support John Edwards. Will you?” button is actually on Journey from Texas’s LiVEJOURNAL profile.

    Comment by Christoph (92b8f7) — 11/30/2007 @ 3:19 am

  3. A social networking site. You have got to be fucking kidding. I would ask Jamie Gold about that on their blog, but they would not likely post the comment, and then claim I did not respond.

    Comment by JD (00210f) — 11/30/2007 @ 6:03 am

  4. CNN and the LA Times are unofficial members of the Democratic campaign. I assume your question is rhetorical. I do think it is useful to expose this connection although the vast majority of voters will not see these comments. The MSM is ignoring the story so the Times gets a quarter point for even mentioning it,.

    Comment by MIke K (86bddb) — 11/30/2007 @ 6:06 am

  5. Wait a second… everything I’ve heard so far has said that this guy was identified as a “log cabin Republican.” In his post, he denies every identifying himself that way. Did he lie to CNN/YouTube, or did CNN take it upon themselves to misidentify him in that way?

    Comment by PatHMV (0e077d) — 11/30/2007 @ 6:13 am

  6. My bad… it wasn’t this Obama supporter who identified himself as a Log Cabin Republican, it was the Clinton adviser, the retired general. I apologize for confusing which Democratic supporter said what when asking questions at the Republican primary debate.

    Comment by PatHMV (bd82a6) — 11/30/2007 @ 6:39 am

  7. The Obama supporter asks why he is being criticized for asking a question. However there was nothing wrong with the question or his asking it. The onus is entirely on CNN for allowing, through its incompetence, Democratic candidate supporters to pose as undecided Republicans.

    What’s the big deal about Democrats posing questions for a Republican debate? The issue Republican voters say is the most important for them to decide which candidate to support is terrorism. Yet partly because of CNN’s decisions and partly because of all the plants, not a single of the 30 questions posed dealt with that issue.

    Comment by aunursa (090908) — 11/30/2007 @ 6:42 am

  8. What is most damaging to CNN is not just that there were so many plants at the debate but that CNN selected so many questions from plants. CNN thought that those people questions were the most important to a Republican debate, which they were not.

    Comment by Alta Bob (be261c) — 11/30/2007 @ 7:21 am

  9. CNN selected the questions that they figured would be important to the charicature of Republicans that they have in their heads.

    Comment by JD (00210f) — 11/30/2007 @ 7:28 am

  10. Some lovely theme music for y’all.

    Comment by David Ehrenstein (4f5f08) — 11/30/2007 @ 7:42 am

  11. No thanks, David. What new and interesting lies and names do you have for us today?

    Comment by JD (00210f) — 11/30/2007 @ 7:46 am

  12. Clinton News Network’s new slogan:
    CNN – Now with 1/3 Bogus Content.

    Comment by Perfect Sense (b6ec8c) — 11/30/2007 @ 7:53 am

  13. #9 — Ding Ding Ding — we have a correct answer.

    The only remaining question is whether it was malicious or simply the result of living and working in an echo chamber.

    Comment by wls (d93e70) — 11/30/2007 @ 9:00 am

  14. “The only remaining question is whether it was malicious or simply the result of living and working in an echo chamber.”

    IMO: Willful Intentional Malicious Stupidity.

    Comment by Dana (b4a26c) — 11/30/2007 @ 9:14 am

  15. Barakobama.com is a social networking site because Barak Obama isn’t merely a politician, he’s a social phenomena. He will cure the sick, feed the hungry, end war, bring about racial and religious harmony, and find good paying jobs with quality low-cost health care for all citizens of the world. Of course, to most of the Democrat establishment, that only qualifies him to be Vice President to HRH HRC (Her Royal Highness Hillary Rodham Clinton).

    Comment by JVW (477e5a) — 11/30/2007 @ 9:16 am

  16. WLS & Dan – I believe you just created a new word – WIMS – Willful Intentional Malicious Stupidity. It must be properly used though. Some people are just flat out stupid, rather than intentionally stupid.

    Comment by JD (00210f) — 11/30/2007 @ 9:29 am

  17. CNN selected the questions that they figured would be important to the charicature of Republicans that they have in their heads.

    Really.

    Eight Republican candidates should not expect to handle questions on continuing policy issues like gays in the military and whether opposition to abortion might lead to jailing the women who seek them?

    Was CNN out of line inviting Grover Norquist to pose a question – or any lobbyist, for that matter?

    People who DO and DO NOT support the Republican platform should be allowed to ask questions – so long as the host doesn’t tweak the rules between debates. That’s the only issue I think needs ventilating.

    A Google search would have uncovered Gen. Kerr’s partisanship and CNN has to answer for that and other lapses. But any forum in which only questions from supporters are fielded is not going to force candidates to address the implications of their own positions. Unless you prefer they stay on script.

    Comment by steve (e57e28) — 11/30/2007 @ 9:54 am

  18. This story is starting to get traction in more than the blogosphere. Here’s a critique of CNN from the Manchester Union Leader:

    TWICE NOW, CNN has aired the opinions of an avowed Hillary Clinton supporter without telling viewers that the supposedly impartial commenter is an advocate of the leading Democratic candidate for President.

    This is bad journalism.

    Comment by DRJ (8b9d41) — 11/30/2007 @ 10:04 am

  19. People who DO and DO NOT support the Republican platform should be allowed to ask questions – so long as the host doesn’t tweak the rules between debates. That’s the only issue I think needs ventilating.

    Steve, I disagree in a fundamental way. When you have a Republican Primary Debate and a Democratic Primary Debate, the assumption should be that these events are going to be most important to the people who actually vote in those primaries. Therefore, the questions that are asked of the candidates should be questions that are of interest to the voters of that particular party. There is plenty of time between now and the November 2008 election to let the independents ask questions and to address issues that are important to the broad spectrum of voters. Contrarily, allowing Democrats to dictate the questions at a Republican debate, or allowing Republicans to dictate the questions at a Democrat debate, is mostly a waste of time to those who will be deciding that party’s candidate. That is the major reason to me why I believe CNN was wrong, with the secondary reason that Republican questioners were not as high profile at the Democrat debates.

    Comment by JVW (477e5a) — 11/30/2007 @ 10:43 am

  20. Here’s another fundamental misstatement in the piece:

    Retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr, who is gay, had asked the candidates why gays and lesbians shouldn’t be allowed to serve openly in the military.

    That is not at all what he asked. He asked why the candidates think the troops are losers. Quote:

    “I want to know why you think American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.”

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 10:44 am

  21. When Isee CNN allow GOP campaign workers and staffers to pose as undecideds and ask questions about the dhimmierats positions then I’ll believe the MSM isn’t in Hildabeast’s lock box.

    Till then it appears alls fair in love and war as long as you are a leftwingnut but not an evil Karl Rovian monster.

    Comment by Thomas Jackson (bf83e0) — 11/30/2007 @ 10:47 am

  22. steve,

    Was CNN out of line inviting Grover Norquist to pose a question – or any lobbyist, for that matter?

    CNN identified Norquist as such, and he is an undecided Republican. In a Republican debate, you want questions that address the issues Republicans are concerned with. Kerr’s question was of the “Have you stopped beating your wife?” sort.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 10:50 am

  23. That is not at all what he asked. He asked why the candidates think the troops are losers. Quote:

    “I want to know why you think American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.”

    Comment by Pablo — 11/30/2007 @ 10:44 am

    Talk about taking a quote completely out of context. He said nothing about the quality of the troops. His question had to do with their position on the policy.

    Comment by Voice of Reason (10af7e) — 11/30/2007 @ 10:51 am

  24. vor, that is his question, verbatim. He inquired about the candidates supposed negative impression of the troops. What context is lacking?

    Oh, and given the effort taken to distance himself from his position on Hillary’s GLBT steering committee, I suppose that we also ought to look at his position as a national co-chair of the Veterans and Military Retirees for Hillary Committee. Apparently, CNN is behind on reading Hillary’s press releases.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 10:57 am


  25. “I want to know why you think American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.”

    How is using the exact words taking them out of context ?!?!

    Comment by JD (00210f) — 11/30/2007 @ 10:58 am

  26. It reflects badly, JD. Therefore, it’s a smear, dontcha know. I may have just swiftboated Kerr as well.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:02 am

  27. If I understand VOR’s complaint, it is the interpretation of “not professional enough” as “losers.”

    (Bear in mind that I’m not taking sides on the accuracy of the interpretation.)

    Comment by aunursa (1b5bad) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:05 am

  28. No, there was nothing “out of context” in Pablo’s quote of the general. On the other hand, I don’t see the general’s question as unfair. Why do we think that our soldiers whom we send out to face death and maiming are so fragile that we need to protect them from gays in their ranks?

    Comment by nk (09a321) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:10 am

  29. Question:

    “I want to know why you think American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.”

    Its a strawman — it presupposes a fact for which there is no evidence.

    This isn’t a GOP policy — its a Clinton policy that the GOP has shown no interest in one way or the other.

    It was Clinton’s fallback policy when he avowed policy of lifting the ban on gays in the military was met with vocal resistance from all quarters — remember the House and Senate were both controlled by Dems at the time.

    Comment by WLS (dfa1f1) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:10 am

  30. Could be aunursa, but he also conflates Kerr’s description of the candidates’ opinions of the troops with Kerr’s own opinion of them, which was not offered. Classic strawman.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:10 am

  31. On the other hand, I don’t see the general’s question as unfair.

    It presupposes that unprofessionalism is the reason behind the policy.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:12 am

  32. nk — the question assumes that “lack of professionalism” among the troops is the basis for the GOP’s position in not altering the Clinton policy.

    That’s a gay-baiting question as much as it would be a race-baiting questtion to say:

    ““I want to know why you think American men in uniform are not professional enough to serve with blacks and women” if current policy forbade blacks and women from being in the military.

    It suggests that it is the politicians belief that it is some defect in the troops themselves that makes the policy necessary. That’s just not the case.

    Comment by WLS (dfa1f1) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:14 am

  33. #27
    Thanks for clarifying – yes that was what I meant.

    Pablo: “losers” was your word not his.

    JD,
    Do you feel the candidates are incapable of pointing out that the question is flawed in how it was framed?

    Comment by Voice of Reason (10af7e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:17 am

  34. Pablo: “losers” was your word not his.

    Yeah. So what? Do you have a problem with equating “not professional enough” with “loser”? It may be a tad harsh, but it’s certainly in the ballpark. And you’ve neglected to point out the missing context. I, of course, provided an exact quote to show what I was referring to.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:21 am

  35. Do you feel the candidates are incapable of pointing out that the question is flawed in how it was framed?

    Do you think the frame was appropriate? Or was it more of a “Have you stopped beating your wife?” question?

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:22 am

  36. The question was a dumb one but the inability of the candidate to hand it back to him with an explanation of their position was more telling than anything else.

    Comment by Voice of Reason (10af7e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:29 am

  37. The question was a dumb one…

    Yes, and CNN chose it anyway. And the questioner happens to be a Hillary operative nine ways to Friday. And it happens to be a gotcha question. That’s quite telling.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:32 am

  38. And it happens to be a gotcha question.

    And he was got and could only complain about the question later.. tells me much about the candidate’s ability to think on his feet and potentially how shallow he may be.

    Comment by Voice of Reason (10af7e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:38 am

  39. Clearly no one who supports Hillary Clinton should have a job on television. Those that do must be weeded out. And those who employed them, terminated with extreme prejudice.

    Comment by David Ehrenstein (4f5f08) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:42 am

  40. #39
    And we need hard hitting questions like
    “Do you support the troops more than the traitorous democrats?”

    Objectivity is sacred /sarc

    Comment by Voice of Reason (10af7e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:44 am

  41. And he was got and could only complain about the question later…

    He who? Got quotes?

    And do you think the question was appropriate?

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:44 am

  42. Disclosure would be just fine, David. But it’s nice to see you’ve got your stereotype generator running as well as your strawman machine.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:46 am

  43. And do you think the question was appropriate?

    Apparently only softball questions are appropriate in the primaries. Give me your idea of appropriate questions Pablo.

    Comment by Voice of Reason (10af7e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:48 am

  44. David, so now we’ve established that you’ve nothing but trolling.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:53 am

  45. Answer the question, vor. You’ve already said it was dumb. Do you think it was appropriate for CNN to chose that question?

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:54 am

  46. I beg to differ. I offer an opposing point of view AND supply useful links. Like this one which should have you leaping for joy, Pablo.

    Comment by David Ehrenstein (4f5f08) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:55 am

  47. Not quite, David. Has anyone told you that you’re an asshole? Today, I mean. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 11:57 am

  48. Only from fascist assholes like you.

    Comment by David Ehrenstein (4f5f08) — 11/30/2007 @ 12:01 pm

  49. LOL

    David, you really are quite sad, you know that?

    Can’t you even attempt a debate without being a jerk? I mean really.

    Wanna try again, sweety?

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (425810) — 11/30/2007 @ 12:05 pm

  50. VOR — how about this on the same topic as Kerr:

    “President Clinton modified the military policy on admitting homosexuals into the armed services, with the policy now known by the common moniker “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

    If elected President, would you continue this policy, or would you change it. If you would change it, in what way would you change it.”

    That question is not loaded, and it gives the candidate three options —

    1. I’d leave it alone.
    2. I’d change it by making it more restrictive.
    3. I’d change it by making it less restrictive.

    That would INFORM the electorate as to the position of each candidate.

    Leaving aside the question of whether GOP primary voters even give a shit about this policy.

    Comment by WLS (dfa1f1) — 11/30/2007 @ 12:27 pm

  51. WLS’s question (as a replacement for Kerr’s) is much better, because it seemed to me that Kerr was blaming the canidates for DADT.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (425810) — 11/30/2007 @ 12:28 pm

  52. Only from fascist assholes like you.

    This from the guy who said:

    There’s a script you neo-fascists have for “Liberals” and everythign I say and do is supposed to follow it. When it doesn’t, you pay no attention and simply repeat your boilerplate talking points.

    Projection is not your friend, David. You’re a cartoon, and a badly drawn one at that.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 12:31 pm

  53. “David, you really are quite sad, you know that?”

    Right on time with the “sad.”

    You people are so predictable I can set my watch by you.

    “Projection is not your friend, David. You’re a cartoon, and a badly drawn one at that.”

    Actually I’m a Photoshop.

    Comment by David Ehrenstein (4f5f08) — 11/30/2007 @ 12:46 pm

  54. Right on time with the “sad.”

    You people are so predictable I can set my watch by you.

    I would hope not, since I set my watch by your calling us assholes and fascists…

    What is so very, very sad about you David is that you’re only defense is vulgar insults.

    No originality to them at all.

    It is quite disappointing. I’d have expected better from you.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (425810) — 11/30/2007 @ 12:49 pm

  55. No David, you’re an asshole. A cartoonish asshole. Funny will not obliterate that obvious fact.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 12:49 pm

  56. It is quite disappointing. I’d have expected better from you.

    Why?

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 12:49 pm

  57. OK, I haven’t gone back to see where this started, but it ends now.

    Enough.

    Comment by Patterico (f05296) — 11/30/2007 @ 12:54 pm

  58. WLS,
    No disagreement with how you reworded it. Pretty good as a matter of fact.

    I understand your point about it being a GOP primary – my thought is that the GOP might want to attract left of center dems and mod/independents for the general election and answering questions like this can’t hurt that effort.

    Comment by Voice of Reason (10af7e) — 11/30/2007 @ 1:08 pm

  59. OK, I haven’t gone back to see where this started, but it ends now.

    Just scroll up to #46, Pat.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 11/30/2007 @ 1:14 pm

  60. It’s a fault of mine, Pablo. I always try to see and expect the best from people…

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (425810) — 11/30/2007 @ 1:16 pm

  61. I have a great idea for a cartoon question like they had on CNN debate, the one with Cheney with the shotgun. It will be be for Hillary. See this cartoon Bill Clinton will be holding a cigar like a sex toy, and then he will ask Hillary how she feels about family values.

    Or maybe I can do him wearing a Blue Dress with a stain, wearing kind of a Monica beret. Yeah funny and fair and would help all voters expore the important issues we face…

    I think a kind of Charley Chan Chinese guy with dollar bills stuffed in his pockets would be funny and fair too, because he would remind us of Norman Hsu. That would be fair and help Democrats explore the issues as they select their political leader.

    Have we trivialized our Republic or what. Thanks CNN!

    Comment by red (9e9332) — 11/30/2007 @ 7:24 pm

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