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The Media Still Refuse to Call McCain What He Is: a Liar

The media are failing to apply the same standard to John McCain that they did to Al Gore in 2000.
 
 
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We're finally getting around in the larger blogosphere to something I was flogging a few weeks ago - how the media is failing to apply the same standard to John McCain that they did to Al Gore in 2000.

It's completely clear that the McCain campaign is outright lying about Sarah Palin's opposition to the bridge to nowhere. It's almost comical how many news stories have debunked it (here's a pretty thorough list). And the Obama campaign is not being passive about it, either. Not in any way.

On the same day that dozens of news organizations have exposed Governor Palin's phony Bridge to Nowhere claim as a 'naked lie,' she and John McCain continue to repeat the claim in their stump speeches. Maybe tomorrow she'll tell us she sold it on eBay," said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.

And this is only one of a host of lies that McCain and Palin have uttered on the stump and in interviews. McCain, who has abandoned virtually every "maverick" instinct he's ever had, just yesterday blasted Obama for wanting to cancel a weapons system that he himself opposed just a few years ago. This has happened multiple times and it's not going to stop. In fact, Palin is STILL saying that she opposed the bridge to nowhere on the campaign trail. She's lied about it at least 23 times.

It's not going to stop because the media has not exacted a price for all the lying. They haven't built a "serial liar" narrative around John McCain the way they did around Al Gore, despite there being far more cause for one in this case. This is what Matt Yglesias was getting at yesterday with Marc Ambinder's blithely ignorant post wondering why the electorate doesn't penalize campaigns for lying. Yglesias correctly stated that the media doesn't penalize the campaigns, so why should the electorate, who's getting their cues from that same media? One-off stories debunking the lies are nice, but an overall narrative - which does exist - is the only thing that would do the trick in this case. In response, Ambinder said this:

 
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