Dizzy? Me Too

Let me see if I’ve got this straight.

Clinton aide Jay Carson writes an email to The Washington Post’s Tom Shales. Only he doesn’t send it to Shales himself. He sends it to John Harris at the Politico.

Harris gets Carson’s permission to send the email to Shales and give it to Ben Smith to post on the Politico site.

Smith posts the note and points out Shales has not written back.

Maybe Shales hasn’t responded because the email leads one to believe Carson either didn’t read Shales’ article or missed the point entirely. Carson’s note centers around this argument:

My only complaint is when a different standard exists for each candidate, which is the glaring issue with your piece. It is troubling to me that tough on one candidate is deserving of your outrage, and tough on another candidate is fair game, even “too tame.” I would posit that if one is going to be playing referee with media coverage it is all the more important not to have a double standard.

Shales’ article was a critique of ABC’s bad journalism. The only mention of bias towards one candidate or another was this small snippet towards the end of the write:

To this observer, ABC’s coverage seemed slanted against Obama. The director cut several times to reaction shots of such Clinton supporters as her daughter, Chelsea, who sat in the audience at the Kimmel Theater in Philly’s National Constitution Center. Obama supporters did not get equal screen time, giving the impression that there weren’t any in the hall.

It seems to me Carson, Smith and Harris are all guilty of a little irresponsibility themselves. Carson for mischaracterizing the Shales review and Smith and Harris for trying to instigate controversy.

Let Carson pick his own fight without your goading him on. He’s dead wrong, and you just look ridiculous, manipulated, and misinformed by affiliation.

UPDATE: Smith’s post makes it sound like Carson sent the email to Harris and Harris alone, seeing as how Smith says Harris had to get “permission” to print it:

Politico’s John Harris sends Clinton aide Jay Carson’s e-mail yesterday to Tom Shales, the Washington Post critic who criticized ABC News for a “shoddy” and “despicable” debate this week.

Carson gave Harris permission to print his note to Shales, who so far has not written back.

This excerpt from Howie Kurtz’ Friday write looks suspiciously similar to the language in Carson’s email:

Clinton spokesman Jay Carson countered that “the press is supposed to ask every candidate tough questions . . . If you can’t handle tough questions from a TV anchor, how will you handle the Republicans or a hostile world leader?”

Carson’s email as posted on Politico reads:

To be clear, I don’t think it is a bad thing for the press to be tough on presidential candidates (or their staff for that matter). These people are running for president after all, and if you cant handle a tv anchor how should the American people expect you to handle a hostile world leader?

Even more evidence Carson’s trying to infuse a talking point that has absolutely no exclusive affiliation with Shales’ review of the ABC debate (and might help explain why there is such a disconnect between the two). Is it possible Carson’s email wasn’t just to Shales? “Clinton spokesman takes aim at Shales” or Harris and Smith take aim at Shales?

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