When reading Charles Krauthammer's editorial entitled The Audacity of Selling Hope, I was transported back to 2003 and the run up to the Iraq war. The liberal peppering of the article with quotes from other pundits reminded me of the way they all joined the drum beat to war. Not questioning. Not deviating. Not thinking. After the situation in Iraq declined and the failures of intelligence and the press were brought to light, we were told "never again". Well, it seems never is not as long as it used to be as the drum beat begins anew for the 2008 election. Each candidate is given their label and all the pundits work feverishly to reinforce the label. Sen. McCain is the maverick and not conservative enough. This despite his tacking considerably right with respect to his positions on the Bush tax cuts, immigration reform, and torture. Sen. Clinton is experienced and inevitable. This despite the fact she has lost 11 contests in a row and her campaign has tried desperately to shed the institutional candidate label they donned to avoid questions that backward-thinking people might have about electing the first female president. Sen. Obama is the dreamer without substance. This despite policy positions, ten-point plans, and endorsements from political veterans. And the beat goes on. Hours and hours of news time and gallons and gallons of ink are dedicated to election coverage and this is all we get, over and over and over again. While all the candidates are cheated by this labeling approach, it is really the citizens of the United States that are ultimately cheated. The information is out there, but reporters are more interested in reporting on sexual innuendo and the opinions and business dealings of each candidate's supporters. Or worse, they simply sanitize the rantings of right- and left-wing radio hosts. So what we end up with is either caricature or euphemism. Neither results in an informed electorate.
If you want to find out more, you can go to each candidate's web site (linked above). If you prefer less biased resources, here are some resources that have information you won't find on the many 24-hour "news" sources, i.e., policy positions for each candidate.
So the information is pretty easy to get. But can we really expect Mr. Krauthammer to research his articles and base his opinions on facts? That is not his job. His job is simply to unquestioningly repeat what other pundits say. Mission accomplished.
Update: Media Matters has a story that covers this issue.