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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A big fat Lapham

Nick Schulz at Tech Central Station has coined the term “Laphams,” in dishonor of Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham who mistakenly let slip that his “coverage” of the Republican Convention was written weeks before the convention started.

Shultz opines that “the major media routinely bring to their coverage of significant political events a predetermined storyline.” He and his cohorts at TCS are collecting examples (via Instapundit).

How about the moronic convergence of Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Michael Moore all pitching the first convention night story that the Republican's are falsely putting on a socially liberal face, on a night during which not a single speaker spoke a socially liberal word? (It was "A nation of Courage" night.)

Again, the party/media hacks seem to be getting their talking points Moore, whose puddle of spittle stains today’s USA Today. Tim Graham at National Review spots the Rather/Brokaw ploy and asks them some pointed questions about coverage that has no grounding in the covered event:

What was it about Monday night's speeches that had anything to do with abortion, or homosexuality, or stem-cell research? How was it relevant to the night's events? … Certainly, the Democratic convention did not spend any time on abortion, or homosexuality: They spent it all on Lieutenant Kerry "reporting for duty." Why should the Republicans be pressed to do something different?

ABC, CBS, and NBC never mentioned abortion or gay issues in their three nights of prime-time Boston coverage. CNN also avoided these issues in prime time. MSNBC avoided abortion talk, and carried two mentions of homosexuality. Chris Matthews asked Virginia Gov. Mark Warner once about how a pro-gay stand will play in the South. (Um, it won't.) Only PBS noticed the absence of these issues in Boston, with two mentions of abortion and two of homosexuality.

But there was CNN's Aaron Brown last night complaining: "I don't think the Republican party can go an entire week without mentioning the economy, without mentioning health care, without mentioning the range of social issues. But they managed to get through the entire night tonight without talking about any of them." These are important issues, and the differences between the parties are dramatic. But a fair and balanced network wouldn't just discover them at convention number two.

As Graham notes, there was no “move to the middle” in the actual day's events, but that didn’t stop the press from sticking to its “move to the middle” story line. Was this “coverage” literally written well before the convention, as Michael Moore’s USA today article surely was? I smell a Lapham.

P.S. Moore’s best line:

Our side is full of wimps who'd rather compromise than fight.

In dealing with terrorism anyway.

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