The San Francisco Chronicle published an article on September 7 masterful for its underhanded back slapping of John McCain, Sarah Palin and anyone who would vote for them all while pretending to say how successful the McCain/Palin ticket is in garnering support since the end of the GOP Convention. Nearly every "positive" thing said about Republicans and anyone who would vote for McCain was framed as a negative and the way this article states its case proves as one of the most perfectly sly pieces of pro-Democrat propaganda I've seen in a long time. It's so good that you don't even realize your being manipulated until you sit back and think about the piece as a whole.
In this story by Chronicle writer Carolyn Lochhead, the headline properly elicits curiosity enough to draw the reader in: "Palin may woo blue-collar voters from Obama" it reads intriguingly. But think about this header. The headline assumes from the start that "blue-collar voters" are Obama's to lose, that McCain doesn't have any to start with but has to "woo" Obama's. Negative strike against McCain number one. There are many more to come
So, how do we start an article about how John McCain will woo, or is wooing blue-collar voters? Do we start it by saying what McCain does that appeals to blue-collar voters? No, we start by quoting Democrats saying that McCain fails to appeal to blue-collar voters and that he is just like Bush. In a story that at first seems to be about John McCain's success the very first paragraph of the story is anti-John McCain. Strike number two.
Democrats do not think that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's arrival in the enemy camp changes Sen. Barack Obama's path to the White House. As far as they're concerned, Republican John McCain's running mate is President George W. Bush.
Next we get a direct quote by Barack Obama. "This race is not a personality contest," they quote him as saying. In fact, the quotes in this story are quite interesting. Because, in a story that is ostensibly to be about McCain's success with blue-collar voters, we get Obama directly quoted several times, Democratic strategists and Party hacks quoted several times, but few quotes from any Republican supporters, only one quote from Governor Sarah Palin, and not one quote from John McCain at all. In other words, for a story about John McCain's success we get 80% of the quotes from his opponents all of them saying how McCain is wrong, how he is "just like Bush," and how his voters are racists. We are into a half dozen in the “strike” count already.
Finally several paragraphs in we get a ray of sunshine for McCain. Yet, even this sunshine has a cloudy outlook...
Independent observers in Ohio think Palin does change the race, enhancing the GOP's appeal - not among the women who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, but among white men. They say Palin's most potent weapon may even be her snowmobiler, union husband, Todd.
Just like that the San Francisco Chronicle has decided that no Hillary voter will vote for John McCain and that all he’ll be able to expect are undecided white men.
The Chron then quotes a university professor to say that Sarah Palin's husband will play "very, very well" in "old steel towns" because of his "whole up-from-the-blue-collar thing." And then manages to work in Todd Palin's DUI conviction on top of it all. The condescension with the "whole up-from-the-blue-collar thing" just drips from the sheet, doesn't it? Add that to the gratuitous mention of the DUI conviction and what we have here is the SFChron slyly telling what it imagines to be its upscale audience that Todd Palin is a drunk that appeals only to yokels, so let's laugh this off. A subtle jab that "he isn't like us."
Next we get a quote from Mr. Palin deployed by the Chron to show that he isn’t really happy his wife is running for VP, "If I had a crystal ball a few years ago, I might have asked a few more questions when Sarah decided to join the PTA," he said. And then the article mentions that the GOP is attempting to deploy Todd Palin soon at campaign stops.
This, along with a quick bit to say that Todd has requested leave of absence from his job so he can "care for the couple's five children," lets us see that the Chron is subtly trying to paint Sarah as a husband ignoring, children abandoning wife. Very slick Chronicle. Subtle, but slick.
Speaking of slick...
With just eight weeks to go, both campaigns battled over the weekend in the Midwest, where Obama criticized McCain and Palin's self-described moniker as agents of change.
I see. So, McCain's rhetoric that he is really the agent of change in this race is merely a "self-described moniker"? I suppose that we are to take Obama's self-description as gospel, then? His isn’t a "self-described" claim but is just fact, Chronicle? Slick, isn't it?
One more small ray of sunshine is shed on McCain by the discussion about how Obama is "scaling back" his overly ambitious attempts to campaign in 18 battleground states. Naturally, here we see another attempt to soften that mention of Obama's failure by giving Obama another direct quote to sell his rhetoric.
"Don't be fooled," he told a crowd Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind. "John McCain's party, with the help of John McCain, has been in charge" for nearly eight years.
Taking a swipe at Palin, he said, "When you've been taking all these earmarks when it's convenient, and then suddenly you're the champion anti-earmark person, that's not change. ... Words mean something, you can't just make stuff up."
The Chronicle allows this Obama rhetoric to go unaddressed by any counterpoints from the McCain camp, even though the same day Govenor Palin did reply to Obama's jab by saying, "Today our opponent brought up earmarks and frankly I was surprised that he raised the subject. I didn’t think he’d want to go there. Our opponent has requested nearly one billion dollars in earmarks in just three years…about a million dollars for every working day. Just wait until President John McCain puts a stop to that." But this was nowhere in the Chronicle's story.
Next the Chronicle says indirectly that anyone being wooed by McCain/Palin is a racist if they won't vote for Obama.
"These are folks that may have a problem with Obama," said Gerald Austin, a Democratic strategist who worked for Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. "They may say it's his experience, but we know it's because of his race. But they also have problems with George Bush, who they don't want for another term, and they see McCain that way, so they have a real dilemma."
Seriously... "but we know it's because of his race"? You know this, Mr. Austin? And the Chronicle allows this to go by unchallenged as if it is merely a matter of fact?
Then the Chron allows this Gerald Austin Party hack to say that this loss of Obama votes doesn't matter because of all the new, young voters who will fill in that gap. And the Chronicle allows this to go unchallenged as well. Historically, the youth vote is miniscule and has never been a factor in presidential politics. We have only a supposition that it will this time, yet the Chron also allows this statement to go forward as fact.
Then, even though the Chronicle story has spit in the face of history by claiming that the youth vote will be the key to victory on one hand, on the other they invoke history to say that McCain's pick of Palin for the VP slot wont really affect the race.
Vice presidential picks have seldom had much effect on presidential races. Even Dan Quayle, who was clobbered in his campaign debate, did not stall President George H.W. Bush's victory over Michael Dukakis in 1988.
I see. So the youth vote will assure an Obama win despite that the youth vote has historically never been such a key to victory, but Palin's pick as VP is meaningless because... well, because history tells us VP picks are meaningless. If the reader isn't applying logic here, that one is easy to miss. Selective use of the historical record is also a slick propagandist’s tool.
The Chronicle next assures us that Obama has "plenty of advantages" and that he "has excited and expanded the electorate while collecting record amounts of campaign contributions" -- and remember, this is supposed to be a story about McCain’s successes.
Then what of McCain? (my bold for emphasis)
McCain, however, has managed to remain far more popular than his party or his president. Independent voters and even some Clinton Democrats, once called Reagan Democrats, are not sold on Obama. Several unaffiliated observers said Palin could appeal to these voters too, despite her conservative views.
Each positive is juxtaposed against a negative to dull the hint of success. McCain is popular, the Chronicle tells us, but them solemnly reminds us that his party and president are not. He has support among independents but they were only "once called" Reagan Democrats placing that possibility in the past not in the present. When did they leave the Reagan principles, Chronicle? Why are they only "once called" and not still called? Lastly, we get the Chronicle saying that Palin "could" be appealing despite her conservative views. Why couldn't she be appealing because of her views? We are left with the impression that conservatism is a negative.
Next we get yet another Democrat operative quoted.
"If those blue-collar voters see Palin and McCain as an expression of traditional American values, whatever the ideology is, it could be tough for Obama," said former Clinton pollster Doug Schoen. "My sense is McCain's got a real chance to win this election..."
Notice the obvious hint that McCain and Palin really don't represent those "traditional American values" when Schoen says "whatever the ideology is"? In other words, Schoen basically said that McCain and Palin can only win if they fool voters into thinking that the duo represents those "traditional American values."
Then the Chronicle give Schoen room to give the Obama team advice.
Schoen's advice to Obama: "Attack, attack, attack. Hard, hard negative. McCain can't win if they're branded as right wing with the American electorate, and particularly swing voters. They have to make John McCain and George Bush and their agenda the issue."
Any counter to this advice from a McCain supporter? Not a one.
And, finally, this San Francisco Chronicle piece ends by trying to suggest that Governor Palin is just a "buzz of the week" that won't last.
"I think were going to have to wait and see how this all calms down," said Bill Carrick, who ran California Sen. Dianne Feinstein's campaigns and former Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt's run for the presidency in 1988. "We don't know whether she's going to have a lasting effect, or whether she's just the buzz of the week."
So, the very last paragraph of the piece ends with a negative against Palin, the last thing a reader comes away with is a negative jab.
In all this entire story is nothing but a sly slam on the Mcain camp with little by way of quotes and little to explain why he might be appealing to blue-collar voters that was supposed to be the central subject of this story, yet plenty from Democrat strategists giving advice to Obama and explaining away what is happening under their very nose.
What we have here is a very masterful anti-McCain propaganda piece masquerading as an article explaining his success. Chronicle writer Carolyn Lochhead is a master propagandist. She should be congratulated… and excoriated.
(Photo credit: current.com)