I know that the partisan right is now taking their cues from the lies of the McCain and Palin campaigns, but this sentence from Victor Davis Hanson demands a response:
We've seen that with the Atlantic Monthly pictures and blog rumors about Palin's recent Down Syndrome pregnancy ...
The only Atlantic Monthly picture of McCain is perfectly respectable, and the essay written by someone deeply fond of the man. And our editor has apologized for the photographer's extra-curricular activities, even though he had, in my view, no reason to. And that's a sign of media derangement? It's more class than NRO has ever displayed. By equating the picture selected with those that were rejected and calling them all "Atlantic Monthly pictures," Hanson is deliberately smearing this magazine. I won't let that stand, especially since Hanson must know that these editorial decisions were made long ago, well before the current war between the press and the McCain camp.
As for blog "rumors" about a Down Syndrome pregnancy, all this blog has done is ask for facts and context about a subject that the Palin campaign has put at the center of its message, facts about a baby held up at a convention as a political symbol for the pro-life movement, and cited in Palin's acceptance speech. You do that, you invite questions about it. I make absolutely no apologies for doing my job.
I find the account of her pregnancy and labor provided by Palin to be perplexing, to put it mildly, and I have every right to ask questions about it, especially since we have discovered that this woman lies more compulsively and less intelligently than the Clintons. If a story does not makes sense or raises serious questions about the sincerity of a candidate's embrace of a core political message, it is not rumor-mongering to ask about it. It is journalism. And in the absence of any information from the Palin campaign, I have aired every possible view trying to explain it. What else am I supposed to do? Pretend these questions don't exist? Pretend her story makes sense to me? I owe my readers my honest opinion. That's not rumor-mongering, it's fulfilling my core commitment to my readers.
The reason the press is finally angry is because they are sick of being lied to so aggressively and contemptuously and being denied any meaningful access to a person who could be elected vice-president in six weeks and technically assume the presidency within a few months. All my factual questions of more than two weeks ago, moreover, remain unanswered by the McCain campaign. They are all factual questions demanding simple factual answers that any campaign that wasn't bent on deceit and lies would be more than eager and perfectly able to provide.
Why haven't they? When will they?