OT: And It’s Only September …

Cory has a stronger stomach than I – he’s got some coverage of the Hastert-Soros brouhaha that started up over the weekend. See Video of GOP House Speaker accusing Soros of taking dope money and Soros responds to drug-lord accusation . Soros’ letter to Hastert. (Later: See this Salon entry; Slate’s Dennis Hastert on Dope)

For a more thorough discussion of the depths to which this campaign has already gone, see Salon’s They knew how to win. Does John Kerry?

Back before the Watergate break-in, Republican operatives had a name for their unique brand of below-the-belt campaign attacks: “rat fucking.” Part character assassination, part collegiate pranks, the dirty tricks — conducted in utmost secrecy — were designed to throw Democrats off balance, create confusion, and tarnish reputations. Three decades later these attacks have been perfected. Except now they’re practiced out in the open for everyone, including the compliant media, to witness.

[…] Instead of quickly pointing out that Kerry’s Vietnam accusers were factually challenged and that the coauthors of the anti-Kerry book, “Unfit for Command,” had severe credibility problems, too many mainstream reporters, editors and producers, taking their cue from Republicans, agreed to abandon serious campaign coverage for weeks in order to focus, yet again, on a so-called character flaw of the Democratic candidate. By the time the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times did deploy reporters to knock down the Swift Boat Vets’ rickety charges, they’d taken on a life of their own in the anti-Kerry netherworld of talk radio, right-wing bloggers and Fox News.

[…] Nowhere has that that double standard been more apparent than when contrasting the way the media has covered the two parties’ conventions. Compare the coverage of Bush’s colossal blunder on Monday — telling NBC’s Matt Lauer that he didn’t think the war on terror was winnable — with Teresa Heinz Kerry’s trivial “shove it” remark during the Democratic Convention in Boston last month. So far, Bush’s gaffe has garnered far less coverage than Heinz Kerry’s.

And for a look at why the rhetoric is the way it is, see Framing the issues: UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff tells how conservatives use language to dominate politics [pdfs of parts one and two]. Note that Prof Lakoff is filing daily reports from the RNC – Aug 31

Of course, there are also arguments from the other side (see today’s Swift Boats and Double Standards by Benjamin L. Ginsberg, who recently resigned), but somehow the editorial only seems to reinforce the issue in my mind — and there’s the fact that he got ink in the Washington Post