John Fund, a noted conservative political journalist and columnist for OpinionJournal.com, thinks an aggressive public-relations war by Republican presidential candidate John McCain's camp to fight smears by liberal media outlets about his vice-presidential running mate Sarah Palin is necessary.
"Traditionally, candidates' families, especially their children, have been completely off limits," Fund said in an interview with Newsmax TV. "Think Chelsea Clinton, think the fact that when Al Gore's son was arrested for reckless driving and speeding right at the time of the Democratic convention in 2000. There was nothing but sympathy and it was quickly dropped."
Fund, author of, "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy," said, "This has become a feeding frenzy. While there may be some legitimate questions, none of them involve [Palin's] daughter. And I think that this has become unseemly. What you're seeing is a backlash against the media. The John McCain people have to set the record straight."
Fund thinks overall media coverage of Gov. Palin has been mixed.
"I think many people have told her story, which is an intrepid story of reform and battling a corrupt machine in her own state of Alaska. Others have focused on, I think, trivial matters or tried to nitpick her to death," he said. "Some of it is understandable; she was largely unknown to the American people, so a certain amount of 'gotcha' is appropriate because she's not completely known to many people outside of Alaska."
Fund believes a lot of the coverage of Palin is mean-spirited. "It's clear that there's a lot of animus here," he said. "There are attacks on whether or not she can be a fit mother and still campaign and serve as vice president. And of course the children and all kinds of ridiculous stories about her time as governor and before, such as that she was a Nazi sympathizer because she once wore a Pat Buchanan button at a rally 10 or 12 years ago."
Fund says to even dignify those comments is ridiculous. He also notes Barack Obama's tolerance of Chicago's venal political machine, comparing it to what Palin did to clean up political corruption in Alaska.
"Let's just say that Sarah Palin fought the machine in her home state of Alaska and she beat them; Barack Obama has accommodated the political machine. You don't have to believe me, just go to the Better Government Association of Chicago and Jay Stewart, who's its president, who says Barack Obama has rarely, if ever, criticized political corruption in Illinois either at the state or city level."
Fund said Obama "has adapted himself to the Daley machine, and the evidence of that is, who is Barack Obama's chief campaign strategist? It's David Axelrod, who is currently — and has been for many years — Richard Daley's chief campaign strategist; he's the head of the Daley machine."
As for the poll numbers and Barack Obama's recent eight point lead, Fund thinks we'll have a much better idea of where the race is headed in the days ahead after all the dust has settled from the Republican convention.
"After this week, I think we'll be able to better judge where the candidates are because both sides will have had their best possible infomercial before the American people, and then the race begins in earnest."
John Fund Interview: Media Coverage of Sarah Palin 'Unseemly'
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