Editor's Note

November/December 2011 What Happens in the Campaign Stays in the Campaign

By Paul Glastris

Aggressive campaign journalism, even of a sordid nature, has its place. During the 2008 campaign, reporters were so reluctant to dig into obvious clues that John Edwards not only had a mistress, but a child by her—facts reported by the National Enquirer before the Iowa caucus—that the news didn’t hit the mainstream press until weeks before the Democratic National Convention in August, by which time he could have already been the nominee.

I rather look forward to the full-body scans that Romney, Perry, and the GOP field ought to receive from the media. The press needs to do its job. But then it should let the voters do theirs.

Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly.


  • Tiger2 on October 24, 2011 3:36 PM:

    Horsefeathers. The so-called press chose to NOT dig into Mr. Obama's past or his public record. They were extremely selective and blatantly hypocritical. They are essentially ignoring Fast & Furious and and the ill-spent stimulus money right now, as we head into the 2012 campaign season.
    The used-to-be press and reporters have deservedly lost what credibility they had. I don't support their advertisers (well, really don't see their advertisers) and don't trust 'em. Thank goodness there are alternative sources now, from which to peruse the news.

  • RobertE on October 24, 2011 3:41 PM:

    I agree with Tiger2. More importantly, Glastris seems to overlook (a) a stained dress, and (b) a guilty plea. Is this not truth that somehow got out?

  • Clawhammer Jake on October 24, 2011 3:57 PM:

    Journalists consistently write shallow reports because they are, in the main, frightened to the bone to actually write anything for fear their privileges will disappear.

  • valwayne on October 24, 2011 4:03 PM:

    Besides mentioning Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright, and Bill Ayers because they were brought up on Fox News the press never dug into the shady dealing Obama had with Felon Tony Rezko. Nor did they dig up the 20 years of stuff that Rev Wright had to say in that chuch other than what surfaced in the videos. They did their best to ignore it. And the mainstream press all went right along with Obama's story that he hardly knew Bill Ayers. So there is lots of stuff to dig up on Obama if the press really wants to look. Stuff that's a lot more interesting than some painted over graffitti on an old rock on land that Gov Perry leased. I'd also like to know what happened to the Solyndra money, what Obama really knew about fast and furious since their are so many dead bodies involved, and how $529 million went to create jobs in Finland. Fat chance that the left wing media will dig into Obama massive manure pile. They'll be off running anything someone who ever met any of the Republicans candidates did 35 years ago that might sound like a scandal. I'd whine about how totally unbiased and unfair the press is, but after the NYT rumor mill hit job on John McCain at the start of the 2008 season the Republcans had all better be prepared. Obama has no chance to win relection with the damage he's done to the nation except to launch and all our sewage assault on the Republican nominee that will be picked up like an echo chamber by the left wing media.

  • NoLawyers on October 24, 2011 4:20 PM:

    Don't you just love the short attention span of the press over things like Fast and Furious and Holder's "involvement" (or not). They allow a really strange possible terrorist attack by some flake to overshadow a very real story about the attorney general's possible perjury. The press attention span has much to do with the popularity of the person in the news. So charge onward with tales of Michael Jackson's overdose as headline materiel.

  • Veridico on October 24, 2011 4:25 PM:

    I fully agree with what Valwayne says above, but I would also like to ask Libs journalists to look into Obama's academic records, how he got into Ivy League Colleges, who paid his tuitions, etc.. why did Obama lie about his dying mother's not having medical insurance. These are just a few of the questions I have for the Libs journalists. Would anyone of them take up the challenge? I doubt very much.

  • gwbnyc on October 24, 2011 4:28 PM:

    "The 2012 presidential race is entering what might be called the �full public colonoscopy� phase, when the press really begins digging into every nook and cranny of the leading candidates� public and private lives looking for scandal material."

    Right. I recall the thorough vetting process Obama was put through by the press ...oh. wait.

    Like shooting fish in a barrel, Paul- you could at least make it a bit more difficult.

  • ww40 on October 24, 2011 4:39 PM:

    Pardon me for saying this, but most of you folks are crazy. Paul Ryan realizes as do a great many people in this country that we have to stop spending more than we take in. Deficit spending has gone one for decades, virtually every year. This must stop. Ryan knows this and the writer and most of the commenters seem to be determined to refuse to recognize reality. Sorry if its inconvenient for you, but reality bites at times.

  • Danny on October 24, 2011 4:50 PM:

    I'm sure it was hard to find stuff on the Clintons when you decided beforehand that they were innocent. They were found guilty countless times, try sticking to the facts. Here is the truth, whoever the Republican is, he will investigated to death, if nothing is found, the media will make something up (See Dan Rather), Obama of course will recieve nothing but the best possible stories that make him look good. And all true stories that show him in a bad light will be ignored or said to be "not true" It's ok to be liberal liar or protector, please admit to it and don't write a story about you not being one.

  • RAS743 on October 24, 2011 4:51 PM:

    "These ritual friskings occur in every presidential cycle. 2008 exposed Obama's relationships with Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright, and Bill Ayers."

    Really? That's what the MSM did with The One in 2008? Pass me the URLs. I must have missed them. Wonder if their "coverage" would have differed just a *little* bit if it were a Republican with, say, a 20-year relationship with a preacher spouting the N-word from the pulpit, and who launched his political career with a reception in the home of an admitted abortion clinic bomber. Just asking.

    Tiger2 wrote "horsefeathers." I'd use the front part of that word but tack onto the end of it the word the describes the stuff that comes out the back end of one.

    For a while I was buying into the proposition that what the author and other members of the MSM didn't do in 2008 in "covering" Obama was a monumental abdication of duty. But it was no such thing. Their duty as they saw it wasn't to truth, or contributing to an honest discussion among citizens of the Republic of the candidates' qualifications for the presidency; their duty was to elect Obama. Period.

    Good luck with regaining your credibility, guys. Good luck with those audited circulation figures, guys. And now that your "first, rough draft" of 2008 is history, good luck with history's verdict, guys.

    Credibility? Don't worry about it -- you have none.

  • JB on October 24, 2011 4:53 PM:


    Thank you for the laugh. Vetting of Barack Obama. Oh, lordy. That's a good one. *Ahem*

    Wait. Are you telling me you might actually start it? Oh, no, that's right. You're just looking for the regularly scheduled rectal exams of REPUBLICAN candidates. You know, in which you dig into their academic records to show us how "stupid" they are. Or comb through college essays, papers and childhood effects to find something that could be a Macaca moment. Or talk to old college buddies to uncover allegations of alcoholism or drug use. Or give front page play to shady business deals. Or play the old "guilt by association" game that never seems to apply to the other party.

    Save it, Paul. No one out here actually believes you anymore.

  • Obama Was NOT Investigated by Mainstream Media in 2008 on October 24, 2011 4:56 PM:

    Ummm....what? Obama was not investigated in 2008 except by Fox News. CNN followed suit so as not to completely lose their 10% conservative viewership. The so-called "lamestream" media hardly covered the controversial Obama stuff. Even to this day, there are unresolved questions about his birth certificate, according to Adobe PDF documentation experts. Yet the media ignores this, and chooses to persecute Rick Perry and the other conservatives like there's no tomorrow.

    Do the folks in Washington and the media think We The People are stupid and don't see this obvious discrepancy? The day conservatives get a fair shake in the media is the day the media ceases to exist.

  • Treyboy on October 24, 2011 5:56 PM:

    Obama doesn't need a scandal. Unless you consider the President of the United States being a left-wing wealth re-distribution socialist a scandal, then there's nothing to be concerned about.

  • Bill on October 24, 2011 6:03 PM:

    You mean to say the journalists are getting ready to dig up dirt, any dirt, on Republican candidates. They have as yet to report the dirt on Obama. We are still waiting. Meantime, go find some date that is off on Rubio's resume. Apparently that is "journalism" today.

  • Papa4 on October 24, 2011 6:04 PM:

    I'm going to have to side with Paul about the MSM media being even-handed in uncovering and airing reports on Rep and Dem candidates. The only recent exception I can think of is that there may have been slightly more negative coverage of Palin versus Obama. However, in fairness to the media she is from that corrupt, crime-ridden, poltical machine-driven town of Wasilla. Moreover, we all know that VP candidates must be scrutinized much more than those running for higher office.
    Other than this exception, Paul your examples were impeccable, extensive and objective. Now let's get those
    Republican Neanderthal racists and the one "Uncle Tom."

  • cp on October 24, 2011 6:17 PM:

    Funny how the pressed missed Obama's education stats, lack of experience and Jonathan Edwards non reading of books among other things.

  • Dem Bias of the MSM Press on October 24, 2011 6:28 PM:

    Horse dung. The MSM press chose to NOT dig into Mr. Obama's past or his public record, and then signed up for the Obama cheering squad. They have continued in their cheerleading squad role for the last 3 years.

    The only politicians that get "full public colonoscopy” are Republicans. Democrats get a free pass by the MSM press, if not a cheering throng.

  • CrazyHungarian on October 24, 2011 6:37 PM:

    Summary of this article:
    1. Author is still peeved over Clinton getting investigated. Not peeved over his perjury however.
    2. A cursory mention of Obama's association with a crook, a racist and a terrorist is proof of total vetting. However let's not look into anything else, like cheating on getting into US schools as a foreign student, hiding grades, papers, writing etc. NOTHING is know about Obama before he entered politics. That's OK with the author.
    3. Author is looking forward to giving a colonscopy level examination of the past 40 years of all of the Republican candidates.

  • AAC on October 24, 2011 7:22 PM:

    FoxNews was created because there was no news organization at that time to debunk a lot of what the left-leaning media reported about republicans, remember?

  • indie on October 24, 2011 7:40 PM:

    obama's background should have been given a colonoscopy way back in early 2008 by the so-called media, but it wasn't. Instead, the so-called media marched in lock step with the lies being put out by the obama campaign AND trashed Hillary every chance they got.

    If this writer was so upset about the treatment of the Clintons in 1992, where the heck was he in 2008 when Hillary was being treated like trash by the media?

  • mike siroky on October 24, 2011 7:44 PM:

    The colonoscopy phase? Puleeeeze!

    Obama didn't get a colonoscopy. He didn't so much as get a dermatology exam - oh wait, he did get that and the color was right for the liberal press so that was the end of the investigation of his academic record, his associations, what he actually did as a community organizer, what he learned from Frank Marshall, his phony claims to be Christian (in which church was he baptised?), his time growing up as a Muslim, his relationship with Jeremiah Wright, what his relatives are doing in Africa, his illegal alien aunt Zatuni and illegal alien uncle Omar, his academic writings and opinions (can't find any?), etc etc.

    The press had the fix in for Obama from the beginning. For example, the New York Times knew about John Edwards' affair during the pimary campaign. They didn't print it because then Edwards' support would have gone to Hillary and Obama could not have been nominated, much less elected. Colonoscopy? Only for candidates that the liberal press wants to bury, whether Hillary Clinton or any Republican.

    How's that circulation these days?

  • Jimbo on October 24, 2011 8:00 PM:

    Of course no one will investigate the dear leader. I wonder when we will ever see someone parachuting into Kenya like they did in Alaska to check out Obama's father.

    It is not that they like Obama it is just that they hate republicans more. Thank god the MSM or drive bys are just so irrelevant these days.

  • Bairkus on October 24, 2011 8:19 PM:

    The media vetted Obama??! That's so WRONG!

    Journalists IDOLIZED Obama. The media fell in love with him and swooned with pleasure at all his moves. They created him a Messiah.

    Paul, were you really in the US during the campaign?

  • Glenn Koons, LB, Ca. on October 24, 2011 8:32 PM:

    If the MSM would cover all the scandals:Fast, Solyn, the Miller Family green baloney in NOCAL, the taxes-regs-spending, joblessness, et al , they could really educate the lemmings to the real policies that Obama put forward and have failed. And now with the sharia-jihadist types seemingly taking over Libya, Egypt, Tunis, perhaps Syria and Afghan and Iraq after the Prez cut and run for his re-election promises to his lefty BASE, one can add failed foreign policy to this Socialist horror in the WH. A failed experiment; the worse Prez in my 72 yrs.

  • Optimus_Prime on October 24, 2011 8:49 PM:

    In 2008 the MSMedia gave Obama the largest gift of all. SILENCE on past deeds. GWBush was given barbed wire colonoscopies from day one and the press NEVER even gave him a break one time. GW's everything was demanded from the MSMedia Jihad. You all demanded college transcripts and when you got then he was called stupid. Targets had bulls eyes with GW pictures on them. The list of disgusting Jihads against GW was a double standard of Jihad proportions. When WGN radio Milt Rosenberg's late night show had a guest with some not so nice details on Obama supporters called the show in human waves that got so bad the station could not function on 2 different nights. This had never happened before. Someone called Obama's supporters and was told WGN should have NEVER had anyone on the station to talk about bad things, that privacy thing you know. Now remember the blackout of Obama's info was total, he had rights you know. GW had ZERO rights on privacy remember. We don't even know what colleges Obama went to, what his classes were, his grades or anything. As Harvard Law Review Editor there is NO record of any of his writing, NOT one page. Previous Editors were prolific in their writing and reviews, Obama still does NOT have 1 page of writing in that position.
    The press deserve the old adage 'you reap what you sow'. The grey lady is in debt and fighting for her life. LONG live FOX NEWS everything.

  • Anonymous on October 24, 2011 9:03 PM:

    "..the press really begins digging into every nook and cranny of the leading candidates public and private lives" ???

    You're part of the press and delusional about your group view of "news' media diligence. The press usually gives Dems a light once over just to see if there's anything glaring that might later embarrass your chosen candidates and cause them to lose easily (witness: Obamma). THEN you attack any Dem's opponents like pit bulls on the scent of blood. It starts with a determined elistist innerlecshul librul ideological view and is reinforced by living in an echo chamber, deviod of more than casual street contact with us "little people" - who vote.

  • jorge on October 24, 2011 9:32 PM:

    Obama is the media's President and they will do everything they can, has witnessed by this article, to prop up this total failure. Writers like this one are nothing more than propagandist.

    I would love to place all the blame on the politicians, the media, and the bureaucrats, but I cant.

    "The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."

    Certainly the media is part of the problem, but even they cant drown out the American people.

    We are the only ones that can fix this; and it can be done as long as we all pitch in.

  • Robert on October 24, 2011 10:04 PM:

    I guess it is something I would expect to read from a man actually employed as chief speechwriter by Clinton when he was president. Maybe that should have been in the article somewhere. Most people don't know the personal history of all the self proclaimed unbiased "journalist".

  • Shauna on October 24, 2011 10:20 PM:

    Come off it. Nobody vetted Obama. If he had been vetted he would not be President and we would be booming along in a world wide recovery right now!!!

    This economy is the fault of the press and the refusal to see anything wrong in any of Obama's prior dabbling in communism.

    Right now we have communists "occupying" our country. That would never have gained acceptance without the pass the press gave Obama. And your refusal to cover the communists as what they are!!!

    This needs to stop. Stop the lies. Obama is a media created monster who has cost the world an incredible amount of money and well-being!

  • dick on October 24, 2011 10:35 PM:

    Can you imagine the field day that the press would have if they discovered a "Reverend Wright" in the background of a Republican candidate?

  • Dan Easterling on October 24, 2011 10:43 PM:

    Obama was never investigated, he was the admitted darling of the media in the 2008 campaign. This author is endemic of the myopic view journalists have now.

    Mr. Glastris tries to put forth the idea the media did a good job vetting Obama. What a load! If its a democratic candidate they get their head so far up it, it takes 4 years to get the stain off their nose.


  • herp derp LAMEstream media on October 25, 2011 12:54 AM:

    Don't you all use the internet now? Why do you care what's on TV programs that no one watches, or in newspapers that no one reads?

    Talking about mainstream media conspiracies makes you all sound like stupid old farts. Especially when you act like Fox News is some pirate ship broadcasting the truth, instead of the most-watched news channel.

    Mainstream sports coverage is such a sham!! Thank God for ESPN!!

  • catsmeow on October 25, 2011 7:00 AM:

    The journalist whom I personally am acquainted with was unable to participate in the 2008 colonoscopy due to prior commitments. She was an Obama delegate. She was investigating party trays and open bars in Denver. This author produces Horsepuck.

  • Anonymous on October 27, 2011 6:27 AM:

    After reading the comments, I was surprised at the number of wingnuts showing up at the WM. Then I realized they are only about three people, max, rewriting the same nonsense over and over.

  • Robert Waldmann on November 01, 2011 3:23 PM:

    It is such a shame that there was no Washington Monthly in the 90s. Ohhhhh really ? In that case, why does the Washington Monthly count on lefty bloggers to do its job ?

    Your list of journalists who abandoned all standards is much too short. I think it is easier to list the journalists who acted properly. Now that I know you were parachuted into Little Rock, I add you to my list of Joe and Conason.

    Please fire up Lexis/Nexis (I don't have it here) to search for reports that the Clinton appointed regulator asked the Federal regulator to shut down the Morgan Guarantee Savings and Loan. Also who reported that the Whitewater Development Corporation was founded before Morgan Guarantee (which sure wasn't founded by J.P.) ?

    I learned that from Atrios a few years ago. It is very important because, although the Clintons were business partners of someone who managed a firm regulated by Arkansas, they did not choose to enter into a partnership with someone who was so regulated. They could have demanded that Whitewater be disolved. This would have the added advantage that they could have gotten their original investment back by extorting money in the name of avoiding the appearance of conflict of interests.

  • MsJoanne on November 01, 2011 3:23 PM:

    Wow, Paul. You really brought out the crazy talking point right wing nuts with this article. Methinks you hit a right wing nerve here.

    Righties not jut hate truth, it's like garlic to a vampire. It kills their indelicate sense of/for truth...as long as it's their desired narrative.

  • Wyatt on November 02, 2011 1:58 PM:

    ^This, except it's really only one person. One horrifically sad person who spent from 3 PM until 11 PM writing tremendously repetitive about things that happened routinely in the Bush administration are now fully-blown scandals of an unprecedented nature. I think my favorite part, though, is a conservative feigning sympathy for the Mexicans victimized by the weapons from the gun-walking story. Please, ya'll don't even feel sympathy for Americans dying; why would you care about non-white foreigners?

  • Aaron on November 06, 2011 8:51 AM:

    It is just amazing how the right just latches onto bullshit like a pitbull with a bone. They just wont let go.
    William Wright, Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers-just a constant harping on guilt by association relations.
    And now they want to see his grades? As if they give out the presidency of harvard law review through some type of affirmative action program.
    Im surprised the wackos on the right have mentioned solyndra more above.

  • rbe1 on November 11, 2011 4:42 PM:

    The entire sorry episode involving Vince Foster, Hilary's alleged affairs with Foster, various women, the missing Rose Law firm files, Filegate, Whitewater, etc, etc, is shameful testimony to the fact that Ken Star and the people who placed this yahoo in power as a special prosecutor, were and are scum of the earth, individuals who possessed far fewer scruples than the people they were persecuting.

  • Sophie on December 15, 2011 6:55 AM:

    Elections are the same in every country. Thinking about that, today, politics are all in the same way, make money for them before make money for us.

    See my site about rachat de credit to see all the mistake we must correct from these political action. (french site sorry)

  • George on January 05, 2012 10:52 PM:

    Wow!! On this website to renew my print subscription, I happened onto Paul Glastris' article. Believing it to be a creditable account of a slice of recent history, I right-clicked, chose "select all", thinking I was getting only his article. I then chose "print", and wound up with page after page of this drunken, adolescent bar brawl.

    I have suspected that we are conservative in those ways we are permanently damaged with no hope or no intention of healing. This evidence I inadvertently stumbled on surely supports that suspicion. How sad.

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