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I agree that Barack Obama’s remarks about Pennsylvania voters, however badly stated, have been hyped out of proportion by the media, the G.O.P., and Hillary Clinton. The Daily Show explains it best:
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What I can’t understand is the equally hysterical criticism of Mayhill Fowler, the blogger for the Huffington Post’s OffTheBus.net who originally reported Obama’s remarks, made at a campaign fundraiser.
As Marc Cooper, editorial coordinator of OffTheBus.net put it, “It was indeed a fund-raiser to which the press was not invited. Or if you wish, it was closed to press. Therefore it wasn’t on or off the record. Off the record is when journalists consensually agree to witness or hear something on the condition they not report it…Most if not all press was kept out of the room but Mayhill was invited in. She was under no obligation not to report.”
Fowler, whose presence at the fundraiser was known to Obama’s staff, did nothing other than report what she saw and heard. Would those now attacking her be doing the same if she’d reported controversial remarks made by John McCain at one of his fundraisers? And do we really want to accept the principle that candidates for the president should be able to block public scrutiny of their fundraising events?
Fowler did the right thing, no matter how dumb the debate that ensued.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Estimated acres of forest Henry David Thoreau burned down in 1844 trying to cook fish he had caught for dinner:
The bombardier beetle, which can fire liquid at its enemies from its rear end at up to 300 squirts per second, was being scrutinized in the hope of building a better airplane engine.
London Fire Brigade investigators blamed a building fire in South London on a bird that carried a lit cigarette to its rooftop nest. “Smokers,” said neighborhood baker Richard Scroggs. “What can you say?”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”