Jamison Foser: Media Matters


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

"Media Matters"; by Jamison Foser

The defining issue of our time is not the Iraq war. It is not the "global war on
terror." It is not our inability (or unwillingness) to ensure that all Americans
have access to affordable health care. Nor is it immigration, outsourcing, or 
growing income inequity. It is not education, it is not global warming, and it 
is not Social Security.

The defining issue of our time is the media.

The dominant political force of our time is not Karl Rove or the Christian Right
or Bill Clinton. It is not the ruthlessness or the tactical and strategic 
superiority of the Republicans, and it is not your favorite theory about what is
wrong with the Democrats.

The dominant political force of our time is the media.

Time after time, the news media have covered progressives and conservatives in 
wildly different ways -- and, time after time, they do so to the benefit of 

Consider the last two presidents. Bill Clinton faced near-constant media 
obsession with his "scandals," while George W. Bush has gotten off comparatively

Even many members of the media have stopped contesting this painfully obvious 
point, instead offering dubious justifications. Bill Clinton's "scandals" made 
for better stories than George Bush's, we are told, because they were simpler 
and easier for readers and viewers to understand. "Sex sells," while George 
Bush's false claims about Iraq are much harder to explain.

This excuse is simply nonsense.

First, what's so hard to understand about this? George Bush and his 
administration systematically distorted available intelligence to lead the 
nation to war on false pretenses. His administration has been marked by 
corruption, incompetence, lies, secrecy, and flagrant disregard for bedrock 
constitutional principles. None of that can be too complicated: Polls suggest 
that the majority of Americans believe all of those things.

Second, even if it were true that Clinton's "scandals" were easier for consumers
of news to understand, the ease of explaining an affair would, if we had a 
serious and functional news media, be more than offset by the far greater 
importance of Bush's misdeeds.

Finally, this is such a grotesque distortion of the media's treatment of Clinton
that it is difficult to explain by anything other than outright dishonesty. 
Reporters who offer the excuse that they and their colleagues covered Clinton 
"scandals" so much because sex sells, and is easily explained and understood, 
are cherry-picking. They are ignoring the obsessive coverage they gave to 
Clinton "scandals" that had nothing to do with sex, and that were not widely 

They are ignoring, for example, years of coverage of Whitewater, an obscure land
deal in which the Clintons lost money and that was investigated by multiple 
independent counsels, congressional committees, federal agencies, and every news
organization in the country -- none of which found any wrongdoing by the 
Clintons. Whitewater had nothing to do with sex, and nobody understood it -- 
probably because there was nothing to understand. And that's not even going into
Travelgate, Filegate, Vince Foster's suicide, or the myriad other "scandals" the
media covered that did not involve sex.

Eric Boehlert, author of the excellent new book Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled 
Over for Bush (Free Press, May 2006), has offered one example of the obsessive 
coverage the media gave Whitewater:

In the 24 months between Jan. 1994 and Jan. 1996, long before Monica Lewinsky 
entered the picture and back when Whitewater was about an alleged crooked land 
deal, Nightline devoted 19 programs to the then-unfolding scandal and 
investigation, for which no Clinton White House official was ever indicted.

And that's how it was for eight years: obsessive media coverage and hype of 
made-up Clinton "scandals" that never went anywhere because they never existed 
anywhere other than the fevered imaginations of a few far-right Clinton-haters 
and the credulous news media that took them seriously.

How bad did it get? As we're fond of pointing out, the Washington Post editorial
board called for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate 
Whitewater "even though -- and this should be stressed -- there has been no 
credible charge in this case that either the president or Mrs. Clinton did 
anything wrong." That's right: The Post called for an independent counsel to 
investigate "no credible charge."

Boehlert offered a comparison to the Bush era:

But during the 24 months between Sept. 2003 and Sept. 2005, Nightline set aside 
just three programs to the unfolding CIA leak investigation, for which Libby, an
assistant to the president, was indicted. On the night of the Libby indictments,
Nightline devoted just five percent of its program to that topic.

And that's pretty much how things have been for the past five years: Clear, 
conclusive evidence exists that Bush and his administration have committed 
countless transgressions far more serious than whatever it is reporters thought 
Bill Clinton might have done. And it has received far less coverage than 
Clinton's non-scandals.

To be clear, this isn't simply about the CIA leak investigation, or the Downing 
Street memos, or Tyler Drumheller, or any other individual matter. It's about a 
clear and consistent pattern of under-reporting stories that would be damaging 
to Bush -- a pattern that began before Bush even took office.

Exactly one year ago, we referred to "the most obvious example" of this:

The same news organizations that pursued the Whitewater "scandal" as though it 
were Watergate, Teapot Dome, and the Lindbergh Baby all wrapped into one 
virtually ignored Bush's controversial sale of Harken Energy stock. The basic 
information about that sale -- that Bush, while serving as a Harken director and
member of the company's audit committee, dumped more than 200,000 shares of the 
company's stock shortly before Harken publicly announced massive losses -- was 
publicly available long before Bush ran for president. Yet The Washington Post, 
to name one news outlet, gave the matter a total of 26 words of attention during
the 2000 presidential campaign. The July 30, 1999, edition of the Post reported:

Even now, questions linger about a 1990 sale of Harken stock by Bush that was 
the subject of a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

That's it. Twenty-six words.

Two major news organizations, the Associated Press and Bloomberg news, ran 
substantive articles about Bush's stock sale, based on documents that were 
released by the Securities and Exchange Commission during the 2000 campaign. The
AP reported in September 2000:

George W. Bush, before he sold his stock in a Texas oil company, was fully aware
that the firm was suffering from a severe cash crisis and was poised to lose 
millions, according to newly released records of a closed insider trading 
investigation of the sale.

"The full capacity of the company is dedicated toward resolving this liquidity 
crisis," Harken Energy Corp. President Mikel Faulkner told Bush and the other 
members of the board of directors two months before the $850,000 stock sale in 
June 1990.


The Harken documents released under FOIA detail Bush's knowledge of the 
company's problems.

As a Harken director, he received memos in spring 1990 that referred in stark 
terms to the company's cash-strapped condition as banks demanded it pay down its
debts. One document said the company was in the midst of a "liquidity crisis" 
and another told Bush the company was "in a state of noncompliance" with its 

Bush also was informed that a company plan to make a public stock offering to 
generate cash was being abandoned because one of its lenders objected.

"On the eve of filing this offering, the Bank of Boston refused to grant waivers
and consents necessary to allow the offering to proceed," Harken said in a 
letter to the SEC in 1991. "Bank of Boston refused to alter its position and 
instead made demands that it be removed from the company's credit." The company 
solved the crisis when two of its biggest stockholders loaned it the $43 million
it needed.


The SEC investigators never interviewed Bush about what else he might have known
about the company's financial situation before selling the stock.

To sum up: In the months before the 2000 election, newly disclosed documents 
revealed that shortly before he dumped his Harken stock, George W. Bush had been
told that the company faced a "liquidity crisis" and was "in a state of 
noncompliance" with lenders and that its plan to raise money was being 
abandoned. The documents revealed that the SEC -- which, at the time, was run by
a close ally of Bush's father, then-President George H. W. Bush -- never 
bothered to interview Bush about his stock sale during its investigation of the 

And The New York Times completely ignored it. Completely. The Washington Post 
completely ignored it. USA Today completely ignored it. ABC, CBS and NBC? 
Ignored, ignored, ignored. CNN? CNN is an all-news channel; it has a whole day 
to fill with news every single day. Surely CNN managed to squeeze in a mention 
or two of new evidence that a major-party presidential candidate may have made a
fortune in an insider-trading scheme that was covered up by cronies of his 
father the president? No, CNN didn't even mention it. Not a word.

We can hear the apologists already: The media ignored these revelations because 
insider trading is too complicated. To which we say: So was Whitewater. Or maybe
the apologists will argue that there was no story because the transaction had 
already been investigated by the SEC, with no finding of wrongdoing by Bush. To 
which we say: Whitewater had been investigated, too. Repeatedly.

Why do we insist on revisiting ancient history? Because the same garbage keeps 
happening over and over again. Because too many people -- journalists, 
activists, progressive leaders -- downplay the media's failings. Sure, they went
overboard with Clinton, they say, but sex sells. But it wasn't just sex, and it 
wasn't just Clinton. Sure, they were a bit unfair to Al Gore, someone might 
concede, but he had it coming -- he was stiff and insincere. But it isn't just 
Al Gore. Sure, too many reporters may have been complicit in the so-called Swift
Boat Veterans for Truth's smears of John Kerry, but he invited it by speaking 
openly and honestly about his service. Sure, Howard Dean's "scream" was 
overplayed, but he had it coming -- it was crazy! Sure, media elites fawn all 
over Bush, but he's just so likable! And John McCain, too. And Rudy Giuliani. 
They're all just so real and authentic.

At this point, you'd have to be blind to miss the pattern. Every prominent 
progressive leader who comes along is openly derided in the media as fake, 
dishonest, conniving, out-of-the-mainstream, and weak. We simply can't continue 
to chalk this up to shortcomings on the part of Democratic candidates or their 
staff and consultants. It's all too clear that this will happen regardless of 
who the candidate or leader is; regardless of who works for him or her. The 
smearing of Jack Murtha should prove that to anyone who still doubts it.

Meanwhile, any conservative who comes along is going to be praised for being 
strong and authentic and likable. Ask yourself: What prominent Republican is 
routinely portrayed in the media as a phony the way Al Gore and Hillary Rodham 
Clinton are?

(We can't say this often enough: Anyone interested in the way the media fit news
reports into pre-existing storylines should make a habit of reading Bob 
Somerby's Daily Howler weblog, as well as Eric Boehlert's columns and book and 
Peter Daou. And, of course, Eric Alterman.)

Here's how breathtakingly inane these storylines are: Slate's Jacob Weisberg 
this week denounced Hillary Clinton for her answer to a question about what is 
on her iPod, claiming that her answer was "calculated" and "suggests 
premeditation, if not actual poll-testing." Clinton's sin, according to 
Weisberg? Telling the New York Post that her iPod contains music by the Beatles,
the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, the Eagles, and U2.

No, Weisberg's complaint wasn't that the continued popularity of the Eagles is a
clear sign of the nation's cultural decay. That would have at least been 
defensible, if completely subjective. Nor was it a silly attempt to 
psychoanalyze Clinton based on her music collection, determining her to be 
risk-averse and dull. That would have been silly and baseless, but (sadly) 
typical of political commentary. Instead, Weisberg came through with what may be
the single most absurd column written about Hillary Clinton in years -- and 
that's saying a great deal.


You could see the other Clinton making the same sort of calculations this week, 
when the New York Post put to Hillary the key culturally identifying question of
our era: What's on your iPod? Musical taste is eternally revealing, and thanks 
to the growing ubiquity of MP3 players, many people now wear this signifying 
data on their belts. The senator from New York responded that she has the 
Beatles and the Rolling Stones on the white iPod that her husband gave her for a
birthday present, along with Motown and classical music. She then rattled off a 
list of songs: the Beatles "Hey Jude," Aretha Franklin's, "Respect," the Eagles 
"Take It to the Limit," and U2's "Beautiful Day."

Hillary Clinton is the least spontaneous of politicians, and this playlist 
suggests premeditation, if not actual poll-testing. She first indicates that she
basically likes everything before coming to roost on classic rock and soul, 
which any baby boomer must identify with, lest she or he be branded terminally 
uncool. Hillary avoids, however, anything too racy, druggie, or aggressive, 
while naming tunes that are empowering and inspirational. On the 
world-is-divided-into-two-kinds-of-people question "the Beatles or the Stones," 
she, like her husband, finds a middle path: both. She names no Stones songs and 
chooses a consensus, universally liked, neither-early-nor-late Beatles tune, 
"Hey Jude." Hillary also manages a shout-out to racial diversity and feminism 
via Aretha Franklin, and she strikes a younger, socially conscious chord with 
U2. "Take It to the Limit," on the other hand, is such a lame, 
black-hole-of-the-1970s choice that it can't be taken for anything other than an
expression of actual taste.

Think through this for a moment: According to Weisberg, Clinton's explanation of
what music is on her iPod was "premeditated" and the result of political 
"calculations." For Weisberg to be right, Clinton's answer must be dishonest. 
Now: Does anybody really believe that Clinton doesn't like Aretha Franklin's 
"Respect"? How many professional baby-boomer women don't like "Respect"? Does 
anybody really believe Clinton doesn't like the Beatles? They're the Beatles! 
It's hard to believe any rational person could assume that Clinton doesn't 
actually like and listen to the music she listed. And if she does, Weisberg's 
entire premise can be tossed out the window: There's nothing calculated or 
insincere in answering a question about what music you like by listing the music
you like.

But give Weisberg credit for trying: He describes Clinton's stated fondness for 
both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as some sort of 
trying-to-have-it-both-ways Clintonian dishonesty. There's a word for arguments 
like this: Stupid. How many Beatles fans actually dislike the Rolling Stones? 
How many Stones fans dislike the Beatles? It's like suggesting someone is 
dishonest for saying they like both ice cream and cake: Who doesn't like ice 
cream and cake? Allmusic.com even lists the Beatles among 20 "similar artists" 
to the Rolling Stones.

Now, think about Weisberg's column another way. (No, Weisberg's column isn't 
worth a moment of consideration in and of itself, but as an illustration of how 
media constantly find new excuses to undermine progressives, it is invaluable.) 
Imagine how Weisberg would have reacted had Clinton answered the iPod query 
another way:

€  If she had said she didn't have an iPod, she'd be hopelessly out of touch 
with America.

€  If she said her music was her business, she'd be guilty of Nixonian secrecy.

€  If she said she listened to classical music, she'd be portrayed as aloof and 

€  If she said she listened to country music, she'd be accused of pandering to 
rural Southern voters.

€  If she said she listened to The Hives and the White Stripes, she'd be 
ridiculed for dishonesty and for trying to appear young and hip.

€  If she said she listened to 50 Cent or Marilyn Manson, she'd be derided for 
her role in the coarsening of American culture.

There just isn't an answer she could have given that wouldn't have resulted in 
ridicule. Just as the media portray everything as good news for Republicans 
(just this week, Time's Mike Allen announced that the conviction of "friends of 
the president" is going to be "very helpful" to Bush), they portray everything 
as an example of progressives' flaws.

Indeed, apparently not content to illustrate the lengths to which journalists 
will go to make a prominent progressive look bad, Weisberg included a discussion
of President Bush's stated iPod contents. After a brief discussion of Secretary 
of State Condoleezza Rice's music preferences (Weisberg's snarky aside: "I doubt
that the relentlessly driven Hillary Clinton spends much time listening to music
of any kind. Condoleezza Rice, by contrast ... clearly loves many kinds of 
music.") Weisberg moved on to Bush:

Last year, the president also revealed part of the playlist of his iPod, which 
he listens to while mountain biking. It includes "My Sharona" by the Knack, 
"Centerfield" by John Fogerty, "Brown-Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison, and music by 
the honky-tonk singer George Jones. Unlike Hillary and Condi, this all sounds 
pretty uncalculated. Bush doesn't worry about being politically correct or care 
what other people think of him. He likes to listen to white guys singing country
and rock and doesn't care if Jerry Falwell objects to some of the lyrics.

Remember: President Bush is a man who has lied about everything from what kind 
of cheese he likes on his cheesesteaks to why he sent thousands of American 
troops to die in Iraq. And Jacob Weisberg finds his playlist "pretty 
uncalculated" because Bush "doesn't worry about being politically correct or 
care what other people think of him."

Why on earth would a man who doesn't care what other people think of him lie 
about the cheese he eats?

Evidence, facts, logic, and reason simply don't matter when it comes to media 
coverage of politicians. Journalists have decided: George Bush is authentic and 
honest, no matter how many lies he tells. Hillary Clinton is dishonest and 
calculating, no matter how obviously honest her answers are. And everything is 
evidence of these two premises.

Again: Nobody should make the mistake of thinking this foolishness only applies 
to the Clintons and to Bush. By spectacular coincidence, Al Gore is also 
dishonest, according to journalists -- and everything is evidence of that 
premise, too. Even if it means making up quotes he never said, journalists will 
find a way to demonstrate his dishonesty. The classics -- the Internet, Love 
Canal, Love Story, et al -- should be well-known by now, so we won't repeat 
them. Instead, here's Los Angeles Times columnist Jonah Goldberg, offering a new
riff on an old favorite:

In a recent write-up of Gore's visit to the Cannes Film Festival to promote his 
new film on global warming, which premiered Wednesday in Los Angeles, [Arianna] 
Huffington hailed the "new Gore" as the "hottest star in town," beating out 
Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks. Gore told Huffington that this was his second trip 
to Cannes. "The first was when I was 15 years old and came here for the summer 
to study the existentialists -- Sartre, Camus.... We were not allowed to speak 
anything but French!" This, gushed Huffington, "may explain his pitch-perfect 
French accent." Perhaps. Though according to David Maraniss' biography of Gore, 
the former vice president's 15th summer was spent working on the family farm. 
Remember those stories about how Al Sr. said, "A boy could never be president if
he couldn't plow with that damned hillside plow"? That was the same summer.

How dumb does Goldberg think we are?

First, Al Gore's "15th summer" occurred when he was 14 (work through it, Jonah, 
you'll figure it out). Maraniss's actual wording is "the summer of his fifteenth
year," which also suggests that Gore was 14 at the time (ok, Jonah, we'll help: 
Your first year ends when you turn one year old. Therefore, your 15th year ends 
when you turn 15. Therefore, during your "fifteenth year," you're 14.) So, 
taking Gore's memory and Maraniss's writing as truth, the two statements aren't 
in any way contradictory, despite Goldberg's attempt to convince you that they 

More significantly, as The American Prospect's Ezra Klein has explained: "As for
which summer Gore spent in France, think about Goldberg's critique here: He's 
not arguing that Gore didn't take that trip, but that he's misremembering the 
year. This is the strike against Al Gore; that a trip he took almost 45 years 
ago might have happened at 14, or 16, rather than 15. Given our mind's learned 
tendency to drift towards multiples of five, this is pretty weak sauce. 
Goldberg, a bright guy, isn't actually making this critique -- it's more of a 
meta-critique, trying to dredge up old doubts about Gore and his tendency to 

Even more significantly: Who cares? Seriously, who cares? Is Goldberg suggesting
Gore didn't really work on the farm? No, he can't be -- not honestly, anyway: he
has previously acknowledged that Gore did. Is he seriously suggesting that Gore 
didn't really travel to France as a teen? No, he isn't doing that, either. So 
what is he suggesting? He's trying to demonstrate that Al Gore is a liar because
maybe he really went to France when he was 16, not 15.

That's how weak the evidence is that Al Gore is a liar. And yet, his purported 
dishonesty and tendency to exaggerate is the underlying premise of so much media
coverage of him.

At least Goldberg invented his own absurd anti-Gore story. The New York Times 
and countless other media elites -- David Broder, Tim Russert, and Chris 
Matthews among them -- chose instead to take the lead from the Globe supermarket

The New York Times -- the same newspaper that couldn't be bothered to report a 
single word about new evidence suggesting that George W. Bush possessed insider 
information when he dumped his Harken stock -- this week devoted 2,000 words and
a portion of its front page to examining the state of the Clintons' marriage, 
tallying the days they spend together and rehashing long-forgotten baseless 
tabloid rumors of a relationship between former President Bill Clinton and 
Canadian politician Belinda Stronach.

Rather than ignore or denounce the Times' decision to interview 50 people for a 
story about the Clintons' private lives, the Washington media elite embraced it,
turning the pages of the nation's most influential newspapers into glorified 
supermarket tabloids. And television, predictably, was worse.

The Washington Post's David Broder -- the "dean" of the nation's political 
journalists -- quickly jumped in, suggesting that the Times might have explored 
the purported Clinton-Stronach relationship in greater detail and declaring the 
Clintons' private lives a "hot topic" if Sen. Clinton runs for president. As 
Media Matters detailed, Broder has previously argued that journalists delve too 
far into the private lives of political figures. Highlights of old Broder 
columns include:

€  "In the public forums and roundtables I've attended this year, nothing seems 
to bother people more about today's journalism than the blurring of lines 
between the public records of candidates and their private lives." [12/15/99]

€  "It is certainly the case that reporters at times have pushed their 
examinations of candidates' personal histories beyond decent limits." [12/15/99]

€  "[T]he press ought to exercise some restraint and try harder to put these 
matters in perspective. The public is choking on a surfeit of smut." [1/27/98]

€  "It's equally unfair, as Clinton points out, to hold up his past conduct to 
microscopic scrutiny because he is still in his marriage, while divorced 
politicians and unmarried ones (such as Bob Kerrey and Jerry Brown) are given 
broad leeway when it comes to the details of their past lives. Surely those 
issues -- if any -- are of more import to the family members of these candidates
than to the public at large." [1/28/92]

€  "The ransacking of personal histories diverts journalism from what is far 
more important -- the examination of past performance in public office and the 
scrutiny of current policy positions." [1/28/92]

€  "It's time to slow down and take another look at what we're doing, before 
more damage is done to the reputations of candidates and the credibility of the 
press." [11/15/87]

But Broder apparently no longer cares about the damage done to the credibility 
of the press; not when there is ransacking of personal histories to be done. He 
and his fellow Serious Journalists leapt in feet-first, gleefully speculating 
about the state of the Clinton marriage, all the while pretending their 
obsessive focus is something other than puerile window-peering.

We do not endorse the decision by The New York Times and David Broder and Tim 
Russert to take the Globe's lead. We don't endorse their decision to focus on 
Hillary Clinton's marriage rather than her energy policy. We don't endorse media
figures deciding for the rest of us that private lives, rather than public 
policy, should and will be the "hot topic" of the next presidential election. We
think that is childish, irresponsible, and foolish.

But as things currently stand, it's something else: It's grossly unfair. There 
seems to be one set of rules the media uses in covering the Clintons (and, to a 
lesser extent, other progressives: As Media Matters explained, the author of the
Times article openly questioned in 2004 "what kind of marriage the Kerrys have" 
and how that marriage would affect his presidential campaign) and another for 

We've previously denounced "sexual innuendo" about political figures and the 
"frivolity" of questions about politicians' personal lives. We've argued that 
the media focuses far too much on these matters, at the expense of serious 
issues. Put simply, we don't think personal lives are the business of anybody 
but the people involved.

But if the media are going to put candidates' personal lives on the table, it's 
time they do so for all candidates. If common decency and the shame that should 
accompany behaving like voyeuristic 10th-graders aren't enough to convince the 
David Broders and Chris Matthewses and Tim Russerts of the world that the 
Clintons marriage is none of their damn business -- or ours -- then basic 
fairness dictates that they treat Republican candidates the same way. Because 
the only thing worse than a bunch of reporters peering into bedroom windows of 
candidates is a bunch of reporters peering into the bedroom windows of only one 
party's candidates.

Take John McCain, for example. He divorced his first wife (after having a series
of affairs) to marry (a month after his divorce) a wealthy and politically 
connected heiress ... just in time to launch his political career. And what of 
his relationship with the second (and current) wife? Let's apply the New York 
Times test to them, shall we? How many days a month do they spend together? How 
many days are they apart -- she in Arizona and he in Washington, or traveling 
the country raising money? How close can they really be, given that he 
reportedly had no idea his wife was addicted to painkillers she was stealing 
from a charity she founded -- had no clue of an addiction that caused her to 
check herself into a drug treatment center.

Is this the sort of thing that should be a front-page story in The New York 
Times? No. Is it the sort of thing that Tim Russert and Chris Matthews and David
Broder should tout and hype as a "hot topic" of McCain's presidential campaign, 
and speculate about endlessly? No. But there is simply no justification for 
covering John McCain and Hillary Clinton in such disparate ways. If Hillary 
Clinton's marriage is relevant, so is John McCain's.

And so is George Bush's. The New York Times repeats Globe speculation about Bill
Clinton, so when can we expect to read on the front page of the Times about the 
Globe's report that George and Laura Bush have broken up and are leading 
"separate lives" in part because of "booze problems"?

We expect that some of our readers are angry that we're raising these matters. 
Good. You should be angry that anybody would raise John McCain's wife's 
addiction to painkillers, or a supermarket tabloid report about George and Laura
Bush's marriage. It is, as David Broder once wrote, no way to pick a president.

But if you're angry about this, you should be far more angry that for years, the
media has employed a double-standard in covering progressives and conservatives.
You constantly hear about the Clintons' personal lives on television; you read 
about it in the newspaper. John McCain doesn't get the same treatment; nor does 
George Bush or Rudy Giuliani. Intrusive, irrelevant tabloid-style coverage of 
candidates is wrong. Intrusive, irrelevant tabloid-style coverage of some 
candidates, while others are afforded an appropriate zone of privacy is even 
worse. And it can't go on.

Posted to the web on Friday May 26, 2006 at 6:05 PM EST

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