The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, July 03, 2006

Gwen Ifill, the media, and the memory hole

It's been ages since I linked to Adam Felber's site, but this is great stuff. Appearing on NPR's Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me this weekend, the NewsHour's Gwen Ifill said the following about John Edwards and Dick Cheney's debate:

And you know the funny thing? I didn’t even ask about Mary Cheney. They obviously, the candidate, the Democratic Candidate, Senator Edwards, just felt the need to bring it up apropos of nothing and then claim later that he was just trying to express his sympathy and solidarity with the vice president’s daughter.

I could excuse pretty much anyone for not remembering the exact context of the exchange between Dick 'n John, and even for getting it so completely wrong. But Gwen Ifill wasn't only in the room, she was moderating-- and asked this question:

I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: “Freedom means freedom for everybody.” You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions. And you used your family’s experience as a context for your remarks. Can you describe then your administration’s support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions?

How the moderator could get that so utterly wrong two years later-- and even get testy about-- is beyond me. She could just be conflating the flap over Kerry's mention of Dick's daughter with the entirely civil Edwards moment. But she's the one who made the remark about Cheney's family. This is encroaching on classic Bush administration "lying or incompetent" territory.

But Ifill aside (Felber has a few positive things to say about her, while the Daily Howler has many more examples of her shortcomings), his remarks about what the deal is with the media are interesting. And fit with George Lakoff's arguments that he who frames the terms of debate has already won.