This video of Fox News’s Carl Cameron dishing on McCain insiders’ views of Sarah Palin has gotten a lot of attention today.
It is pretty remarkable that McCain staffers would claim to a reporter that Palin didn’t know Africa is a continent — remarkable if true, for obvious reasons, and remarkable if false because that would show an incredibly intense smear campaign. (It sounded implausible to me at first, but Andrew Sullivan* points out that nobody has denied the claim. Plus if it’s not true, why make it up when there are surely plenty of other true embarrassing tidbits they could have told instead?)
But something else struck me in watching the video. Two-thirds of the way through (starting at 2:05), Cameron switches to reporting the spin from those in the McCain camp who are still defending the Palin pick.** He says (or rather they say) that McCain was leading from the time he picked Palin until Lehman Brothers failed. In other words, the economy, not Palin, lost it for McCain.
Then, before you can say fair and balanced, anchor Shepard Smith smoothly counters:
There are any number of reasons why someone might not want to vote for Barack Obama.
I get that. But I also agree with Andrew Sullivan about what’s at stake in this election.
We need to think about: Who best can win the war on terror? Who best can extricate us from Iraq? Who best can handle Pakistan? Who best can manage the financial meltdown? Who best will rid us of addiction to foreign oil? Who best can unite the country? Who best can tackle the enormous debt the Bush-Cheney years have landed us with? Who best can restore America’s core abhorrence of torture?
Now watch these videos.
The Internet is such a ubiquitous and necessary (for us addicts, at least) part of life in the late 2000-aughts that it’s strange and time-warpy to think of how recent that ubiquity really is. Vanity Fair has compiled a fun oral history of the Net that serves as one of those occasional reminders of the absurd pace of change over the past 15 years. (The oral history covers the Internet’s 50-year history, but the best parts are about the World Wide Web era.)
I first became aware of the post-CompuServe Internet when my brother was in college, circa 1992. I was so excited that he somehow had access to all the important information I couldn’t find anywhere else: namely, the special moves for Street Fighter II. I think Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam secrets were also big on my list of Net-procured info, but Street Fighter was the main treasure.
I remember my brother mentioning Archie and Veronica — two early search engines — and I had no idea what he was talking about, though I must have used one or both to find the video game tricks. Oddly enough, I don’t remember the first time I used a Web browser. In my memory, browsers just exist after a point.
Anyway, here are some interesting bits from the Vanity Fair piece…