Ballance At The Washington Post now after the jump.
Jonathan fbd Weisman wrote a very good page A1 article on the McCain campaign's shameless lying, then he wrote a very bad ballancing section after the jump. I think this is great progress. To put the crap on the Walter Pincus pages and the facts on page A1 is an innovation I much appreciate.
However, a lipsticked pig after the jump is still a pig.
Weisman struggles to find Obama campaign lies, because the conclusions must be ballanced even if the facts are biased against McCain.
He shows false claims not made by the McCain campaign, but they are false claims made by Jonathan Weisman.
First he notes false claims made on the internet. This is irrelevant to an article on dishonesty by presidential campaigns. There is a hint that there is some parallel between the McCain campaign's lies and false statements made by people you've never heard of which somehow must reflect on the Obama campaign, because Weisman just can't admit that they are honest.
Then he writes "Obama and the Democratic National Committee asserted for months that McCain wanted to keep U.S. troops fighting in Iraq for 100 years, when, in fact, the context of McCain's 100-year statement was a comparison to U.S. bases in Japan and Germany. McCain explicitly said the troops would be there only if the country was at peace and there were no casualties associated with their presence. " The key word that makes the claim by Obama and the Democratic Committe false is "fighting". Weisman argues that McCain wanted to keep them there but not if they were fighting. Weisman does not present a quote of Obama, an Obama approved ad, an Obama surrogate or anyone associated with the DNC which shows that they lied by adding the word "fighting" when it was not spoken by John McCain. If he can find dozens of such quotes over a period of months, then he is not guilty of exactly the dishonesty of which he accuses Obama. I don't know everything written and said by the Obama campaing and the DNC, but I have no recollection of their slipping the word fighting in -- nor do I see why they would have. It would have been not only dishonest but totally stupid. If Weisman has the quotes (not just one but many over months) then I wonder why he didn't put at least one in his article. If he doesn't, then he is being dishonest and stupid.
Then Weisman writes "A McCain quote Obama has often used -- that the economy is fundamentally sound -- is months old. Since he said that, McCain has said almost daily that the economy is struggling." Matthew Yglesias writes "Here’s John McCain on August 20 talking to Laura Ingraham: “I still believe the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”"
So Obama's claim is not based solely on an out of date quote and Weisman can be right only if McCain is constantly contradicting himself (which I admit is very possible).
And finally, the clincher "As for exaggerations, Obama said yesterday that he had supported a measure in the Illinois Senate to double the number of charter schools in Chicago. In fact, he was one of 14 state senators co-sponsoring a non-controversial measure that passed unanimously. " that is Obama said he had supported a measure which he had supported.
I think that Weisman is not only addicted to ballance but also not as careful and hard working as he should be, so I don't consider his article to constitute absolute proof of Obama's absolute spotless imacculate 100% perfect honesty. However, I don't think a argument in favor of that proposition could possible give it as much support as Weisman's feeble efforts to construct an argument against did.