Wednesday, April 30, 2008

TPM: Hook, Line & Sinker

By Josh Marshall

It seems the AP has fallen for the McCain campaign's and the RNC's effort to prevent anyone from using McCain's own words against him during the 2008 presidential campaign. As noted earlier, what the McCain campaign is pushing for here is a standard in which any negative ad targeting McCain must be delivered with the McCain camp's own spin included in order to be within bounds -- a standard few politicians, to say the least, have ever been granted. And even though the political press has been highly indulgent of the McCain campaign on this issue, I don't think I've seen any news organization so egregiously buy into McCain's false statements as the Associated Press.

The AP article lede reads: "The Republican National Committee demanded Monday that television networks stop running a television ad by the Democratic Party that falsely suggests John McCain wants a 100-year war in Iraq." So, as you can see, the AP begins by stating as fact the McCain camp's claim that the ad is false. Then it actually directly misstates what the ad says.

As you'll remember, there was some jousting a few weeks back over whether it was accurate to say that McCain is willing to continue the 'war' in Iraq for 50 or 100 years. This is because McCain adds the caveat that it's fine with him because he thinks that the occupation will soon be like our longstanding presence in Germany, Japan and Korea in which we have a substantial troop presence but no soldiers dying in hostile action since the population and governments are content to have us there. So is it really 'war' or only 'occupation' or 'presence'?

The truth is that McCain's wishful thinking doesn't change the fact that he's saying he's happy to have US troops stay in Iraq essentially forever (a century, in political terms, is essentially forever), something very few Americans think makes any sense. But the ad doesn't even get into this question of definitions or McCain's special pleading about whether it's 'war' or 'occupation' or 'presence' or whatever. The ad literally just has McCain speaking in his own voice....

Link to YouTube video of the ad, with McCain saying, "Maybe a hundred"

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