Monday, April 21, 2008

Gotcha, Hill- Dog! Huff-Po Let Down

It's no secret that most liberal websites and blogs favor Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Sites like Huffington Post, Daily Kos and Move On all have well documented Obama- biases. In most cases that's fine. Having an opinion is OK, especially when the site is opinion- based, like Move- On and Kos (and SAM Online, for that matter). Things get a little more annoying when the site has more of a "reporter" function, like Huff- Po, and dumps daily news links under often- misleading headlines.

As a fan of The Huffington Post, I am continually disappointed when the site engages in the kind of "gotcha- politics" that it often ridicules. In the YouTube era, every misstep by a public figure is recorded and released, and those who pounce first and loudest are usually well rewarded.

This leads to non- issues and non- missteps being treated as more. It seems that Fox News, talk radio and other outlets engaging in such practices think consumers won't know (or care to know) the difference.

On more than one occasion, the Huffington Post has unfortunately joined that rank. At one point today, the site's headline (in big red letters) read: "Hillary Plays the Bin- Laden Card," along with the above image, referring to the ad posted below. The ad plays on Hillary's experience and talks about the unforeseen and serious nature of the presidency. Images from the past century's most dire moments are shown, including about two seconds of Osama bin- Laden walking through the mountains. Huff-Po's sub- headline read: "Needs Pennsylvania Landslide to Catch Obama."

The implication being that Hillary is so desperate that her ad showed bin- Laden in an underhanded attempt to scare voters into voting for her.

Here's a quick run- down of how many levels this is ridiculous on:

1) It is perfectly acceptable to show an image of bin Laden in an ad on challenges that face a president. This was a challenge that was unmet by the current president, and Democrats need this issue to win in November.

Dems need to stop being so scared of anything bin Laden, it's like they consider the issue an automatic bump for Republicans. Capturing him and his operatives should be a key goal of any administration.

2) If an image of US public enemy #1 sends voters to camp Clinton en masse, then perhaps she deserves to win the state. Again, bin Laden is an important issue, and if voters identify Clinton as better ready to meet this challenge, then she deserves that support.

3) Any attempt by the Clinton camp to manipulate the public is matched and exceeded by Huffington Post. Huff- Po wants to catch Clinton in an underhanded tactic when none is present, and spin it as part of the "She'll do anything to win" "She's unethical and manipulative" narrative.

I hate ragging on my peeps, like Huff- Po, but this headline and the Post's constant "gotcha" online- journalism is tough to take. I guess I am harder on them because I expect more.

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