Thursday, October 14, 2004

Faint praise

More re last week's observation that the winner of a debate can usually be determined when the other party's professionals and partisans characterize it as a "draw" or hedge their obligatory claims of victory with careful language.

Partisans such as Chicago Tribune senior correspondent
Charlie Madigan, a self-described "biased, stubborn, left-wing, pencil-pusher," who called it "Kerry by a nose." Why? "I've always been impressed by numbers and that's what the Massachusetts senator brought to this 90-minute battle."

Translation: Bush won.

Another thing: why would the Tribune allow someone who describes himself as "biased" and "left-wing" to judge the debate? Madigan was writing an analysis, not an opinion column--and an analysis is inherently worthless if it is not fair and dispassionate.

(Caution: the Tribune demands a particularly unwieldy registration.)