On last night’s broadcast of the PBS Newshour, anchor Gwen Ifill discussed the latest polls with Pew’s Andrew Kohut and Mark Blumenthal, "senior polling analyst" of The Huffington Post. Her talk about voter engagement and enthusiasm got a little hazy – if not completely insensitive – when she referred to last week’s embassy attacks as a “dust up.”
Perhaps "dust up" in her mind only refers to the liberal media's insular discussions about foreign-policy developments, but could she sound more cavalier about the deaths of Americans in Libya?
GWEN IFILL: Do these polls tell us anything about what people -- how people view either of these two as a leader?
After all, we're voting for the commander in chief. Last week, we had this dust-up about foreign policy. And, in fact, it continued into this week.
Is there anything that you're seeing in these numbers that shows that people look at these two and they can imagine one as president and not the other?
ANDREW KOHUT: Yes. Well, that's really -- the problem really here is for Romney, because his favorable ratings haven't gone up.
He's not seen as any more credible than he was prior to the conventions. They don't think he is honest -- honest and trustworthy to a great extent.
He's afraid to take unpopular positions. And they don't see him as empathetic. He doesn't understand people like him. He doesn't connect with the average guy.
And there's no -- there's no change in these numbers. He didn't fulfill his mission to improve public confidence in him as a leader, both in personal terms and certainly in terms -- as Mark [Blumenthal] was noting, in terms of strong leader, good judgment in a crisis. Obama's got him by double digits on these things.
Additionally, Kohut’s analysis was more of a malicious commentator who basically said that the American people consider the Republican nominee a liar. We should all note that Election Day is forty-seven days away. There is still a lot of time for Romney to make up lost ground, but most importantly, some members of the media need to understand that throwing dirt on a campaign before the election is over is sophomoric in the extreme.
Gov. Michael Dukakis –the tank man – left the Democratic National Convention with a seventeen-point lead over George H.W. Bush in 1988. In the end, Dukakis only won ten states and lost the popular vote by eight points. In the words of Yogi Berra, “it ain’t over til’ it’s over.”
Apparently, the polls are a much more important subject than investigating how an American ambassador, Chris Stevens, was assassinated, since there was no Libya segment on Wednesday night. Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey remarked today that this is the first time such an awful event has occurred in nearly thirty-three years.
As for Ifill's talent for understating or overstating political events, let's revisit the hyperbole Ifill unleashed when she worked for MSNBC in 1998, when The Starr Report on President Clinton's unethical and potentially illegal actions was sent to Capitol Hill for review:
'Already, some of the more thoughtful members of the House and Senate have admitted, yes, they expect to be overwhelmed. There's very little they can do about this, when someone drives, as one House Judiciary Committee member put this some weeks ago, a truck bomb up to the steps of the Capitol and just dumps it on them. Now this is probably not the most advisable comparison when you consider what happened on these very steps not so many weeks ago, but it is in some ways, politically, a very violent action for Ken Starr to leave this on them weeks before an election when they're trying to decide how to deal with it.'