[**UPDATE below**] The Los Angeles Times is still fighting for their man, Barack Obama. Last June, when their man's poll numbers looked groovy, the Times proudly trumpeted their presidential poll results with a just-the-facts headline, "Obama holds 12-point lead over McCain, poll finds." But now the paper's candidate of choice is in trouble. A new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll shows John McCain and Barack Obama in a statistical dead heat, with Obama ahead 45% to 43%, within the three point margin of error.
So how does the Times frame the results of their new poll? "Barack Obama's image suffers amid John McCain attacks, poll finds" (see UPDATE below). Apparently, the Times has a hard time acknowledging that people are simply learning more about the candidates, and more are simply deciding that Obama is not their guy. The Times would rather blame Obama's receding lead on "attacks" by McCain.
The Times also conveniently ignores the fact that the DNC and Obama have engaged in "attacks" of their own, including the labeling of Senator McCain as "Exxon John" and equating a McCain presidency to "Bush's third term."
A double standard in headlines? Absolutely.
UPDATE, 8/20/08, 7:15 AM PDT: I awoke this morning to find the Times had changed the headline to a more honest, more neutral one: "Obama and McCain in a statistical tie." Isn't that much better?
Also, the Times has published another article this morning (Wed. 8/20/08), "Obama ratchets up negative advertising." It looks like the Times actually is acknowledging that Obama is performing "attacks" of his own. The article begins:
Sen. Barack Obama, under persistent attack from his Republican rival, is intensifying his own negative ad campaign targeting Sen. John McCain in key battleground states.
In the last two weeks, the Obama campaign has aired at least eight new TV and radio ads accusing McCain of failing to protect U.S. jobs, favoring oil companies and turning a blind eye to the economic suffering of working-class Americans.