In the wake of last weekend's negative campaign blitz by the McCain Palin campaign, we had a few class discussions -- roughly linked to posts on fairness and objectivity -- regarding how reporters should cover speeches of the "pallin' around with terrorists" variety.
Or if they should cover them at all.
The ultimate conclusion by both introductory and advanced j. students was that, yes, such stump speeches should be covered, no matter how hate-filled, not necessarily for what they reveal about the opponent but for what they reveal about the candidate him/herself. In other words, my students were smart enough to suspect over a week ago that the McCain-Palin attack tactics were likely to backfire.
The latest New York Times/CBS poll found that the kids were all right. The poll found that, among probably voters, Obama held a 14 point lead over McCain, 53 - 39. Among those voters who had changed their opinions, the Times writes:
"Voters who said their opinions of Mr. Obama had changed recently were twice as likely to say they had grown more favorable as to say they had worsened. And voters who said that their views of Mr. McCain had changed were three times more likely to say that they had worsened than to say they had improved.
"The top reasons cited by those who said they thought less of Mr. McCain were his recent attacks and his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate. (The vast majority said their opinions of Mr. Obama of Illinois, the Democratic nominee, and Mr. McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee, had remained unchanged in recent weeks.) But in recent days, Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin have scaled back their attacks on Mr. Obama, although Mr. McCain suggested he might aggressively take on Mr. Obama in Wednesday’s debate."