November 1, 2007

But They're Unaffiliated, Of Course

Media Matters insists that it has no intention of supporting a candidate, but it's hard to tell that from its content. As Jonah Goldberg noted, the site went into a full-throated defense of Hillary Clinton by attacking Tim Russert for ... well, asking questions about issues:

After the October 30 Democratic presidential debate, numerous media figures commented that co-moderator Tim Russert had acted as, in the words of The New York Times, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (NY) "third toughest opponent on the stage." During the debate, Russert asked a total of 30 distinct questions (not including follow-up questions). Fourteen were either questions directed to Clinton or questions directed to other candidates about Clinton. Many media outlets took note of Russert's focus on Clinton. Russert has received media attention for his conduct toward Clinton in previous debates as well, including criticism following a debate he moderated in 2000, when Clinton was running for Senate against then-Rep. Rick Lazio (R-NY).

What's so unusual about challenging a front-runner? Media Matters seems especially incensed that Russert and Williams challenged her on inconsistencies, such as raising the Social Security tax. They even go so far as to complain about Russert's performance in the Senatorial debate seven years ago between Hillary and Rick Lazio.

Of course, Russert and Williams also fired questions at the other candidates, all Democrats and most more overtly liberal than Hillary. Media Matters doesn't devote any time in defending those candidates from the meanies at MSNBC who dared to ask Hillary about immigration and about releasing her White House papers from the Clinton presidential library.

That shouldn't surprise anyone. In looking at their front page today, Media Matters complains about Clinton's media coverage in ten separate links. In contrast, they defend Obama twice and mention no other Democratic candidate at all on the front page. (I've cached it here.) While one can argue that Hillary gets more coverage than Barack Obama, she doesn't get five times the coverage, and other candidates get a bit of media attention as well. Media Matters seems more or less disinterested in rebutting supposedly misleading reporting on their campaigns.

I expect that Media Matters will fire back at this post, but at least in doing so, it will have managed to find something else to do besides being Hillary's spin team.


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