June 29, 2008

WaPo’s Kurtz Notes Media’s Free Pass Given Obama’s Heller Flip-Flop

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:45 am

Full disclosure: I have reasons, explained here and here, not to be particularly fond of the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz.

Having said that, it should be noted that Kurtz is one of the few in Old Media who has called out his colleagues for whitewashing the difference between Barack Obama’s pre- and post-Heller statements on the now-unconstitutional District of Columbia gun ban.

In a Friday column entitled “Pretzel Logic” (HT Instapundit via Weapons of Mass Discussion), the Washington Post columnist first recited the contradictions in Obama’s statements (links are in original; bold is mine):

Barack Obama is under hostile fire for changing his position on the D.C. gun ban.

Oh, I’m sorry. He didn’t change his position, apparently. He reworded a clumsy statement.

….. Regardless of what you think of the merits of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling overturning the capital’s handgun law, it seems to me we’re entitled to a clear position by the presumed Democratic nominee. And I’m a bit confused about how the confusion came about.

….. Here’s how the Illinois senator handled the issue with the Chicago Tribune just last November:

“The campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that he ‘ . . . believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.’”

Then Kurtz got into how the media mostly free-passed the blatant contradiction:

And here’s what ABC reported yesterday: “‘That statement was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the Senator’s consistent position,’ Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News.”

Inartful indeed.

But even though the earlier Obama quote and the “inartful” comment have been bouncing around the Net for 24 hours, I’m not seeing any reference to them in the morning papers. Most do what the New York Times did: “Mr. Obama, who like Mr. McCain has been on record as supporting the individual-rights view, said the ruling would ‘provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.’ ”

Supporting the individual-rights view? Not in November.

Even the Tribune–the very paper that the Obama camp told he supported the gun ban–makes no reference to the November interview. Instead: “Democrat Barack Obama offered a guarded response Thursday to the Supreme Court ruling striking down the District of Columbia’s prohibition on handguns and sidestepped providing a view on the 32-year-old local gun ban. Republican rival John McCain’s campaign accused him of an ‘incredible flip-flop’ on gun control.”

So McCain accuses Obama of a flip-flop, and the Trib can’t check the clips to tell readers whether there’s some basis in fact for the charge?

Kurtz then cited similar shoddy reporting by USA Today, his own Washington Post, and New York Post columnist Charles Hurt. He then notes the substantial critical response to Obama’s Fosbury-like flip-flop from conservative bloggers, and that he was “not seeing much” on the liberal blogs.

By the way, here’s a memo to the “articulate” Obama: “Inartful” isn’t a word.



  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFSWG2ut0Cc

    Check out the positions Obama has taken from that clip.

    Compare and contrast

    Comment by daytrader — June 29, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  2. #1, Wow. Sooooo busted. Hope to update shortly.

    Comment by TBlumer — June 29, 2008 @ 9:41 am

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