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The War Against the Press

"In a recent email to the press, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers wrote: 'All: I know that the Obama campaign is pushing around many false attacks on Governor Palin, and wanted to make sure you had the facts. The allegations that Gov. Palin was a member of Alaska Independence Party are false. She's never been a member of the Alaska Independence Party. Gov. Palin has been a registered Republican ever since 1982, as the records attached show. It would be nice if the media outlets covering this garbage actually did their due diligence in reporting, and didn't just push Obama campaign/Daily Kos smears.' "

Uh-oh: "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live."

The depth of the culture war should be apparent from this New Republic essay by Alan Wolfe:

"Sarah Palin's nomination is a public service. No longer will we hear lectures from the likes of Newt Gingrich telling poor women on welfare how to conduct their sex lives. Focus on the Family will have to focus on a different kind of family. William Bennett has no virtues left to write about. At long last our national nightmare over sexual hypocrisy has come to an end, and we can all thank John McCain for that.

"And that is not all. In rushing to Sarah Palin's defense, the leaders of the Christian right have made it abundantly clear how they define a Christian. We don't care if you sin. We are not bothered if you put your ambition ahead of the needs of your children. If you have lied or broken the law, we will look the other way. It all comes down to your stand on guns and fetuses. Vote the right way, and you have our blessing. If any proof were needed that James Dobson is a political operative rather than a spiritual leader, his jumping on the Palin bandwagon offers it."

While praising Obama and Biden for declaring Palin's kids off-limits, National Review is disgusted with the MSM:

"The New York Times's webpage on Tuesday led with no fewer than three stories about Bristol Palin's pregnancy. CNN has tried to exploit Miss Palin as a laboratory specimen for a high-profile examination of sex-education. MSNBC and the Huffington Post are titillating viewers with exposes on Miss Palin's boyfriend. Slate, owned by the Washington Post, is running a 'Name Bristol Palin's Baby' contest. US Weekly has 'Babies, Lies, and Scandal' on its cover.

"But unsavory as all this is, it can't hold a candle to Andrew Sullivan. Once a respectable journalist, The Atlantic's self-declared champion of respect for privacy and of civil discourse now obsesses over Miss Palin, airing baseless and abhorrent questions about the motherhood of Trig, Gov. Palin's infant son, born this year with Down syndrome. One wonders if David Bradley bought The Atlantic -- a venerable institution that once published Mark Twain and Martin Luther King -- so that he could associate it with the most despicable ravings of the left-wing blogosphere. What price in reputation is Bradley willing to pay for increased unique-visitor numbers from among the fever swamps?

"This shameful but predictable media performance stands in marked contrast to the rigorous 'hands-off' privacy policy dutifully honored by the press throughout the Clinton years for the president's then-teenage daughter, Chelsea. Indeed earlier this year, though Miss Clinton was now well into her twenties and an impressively poised surrogate for her mother's campaign, NBC News suspended reporter David Shuster for asserting that Sen. Clinton's campaign was 'pimping' her daughter -- a classless formulation, to be sure. But where's the hyper-sensitivity about a candidate's child now?

"When Al Gore's son was arrested on narcotics and speeding charges in 2007, moreover, the national press was a model of sympathetic restraint. The muted coverage was devoid of calls for a national "teaching moment" on drug abuse or responsible driving. The message was plain and correct: No news here, move along. The Republican base and other people of good will are angry over this grotesque display. It is obvious what the media and Democrats are up to here. They want to define Sarah Palin as a failure before she even has a chance to succeed."

By the way, the McCain camp denies ABC's report that Palin was once a member of the Alaska Independence Party, although she did speak at its 2000 convention.

Howard Kurtz hosts CNN's weekly media program, "Reliable Sources."

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