Bloggers Unmask ‘Undecided’ Moles

We don’t usually run a blog report on Friday, since we post the Water Cooler in its place. (And we’d encourage you to check out this week’s interview, with uber-journo Michael Kinsley.) But there were a few gems that we wanted to draw your attention to in the wake of the debates, so we thought we’d break with tradition.

First, Jesus’ General points out that CNN’s Bill Hemmer interviewed three “undecided” voters in Florida about the debate. One of them, Edward Martos, is a graduate student in public administration at the University of Miami. “Public administration?” writes Jesus’ General. “You’d think that he’d certainly be a bit more informed about politics and public policy that the average guy. How could he still be undecided?”

Turns out he most likely isn’t: Martos is in fact a member of the College Republicans, serving as the Assistant Editor-in-Chief of their newsletter, among other duties. “Edward Martos is my new hero,” writes a slightly sardonic Jesus’ General. “He’s been able to fool a lot of people, including Bill Hemmer, into believing that he’s an independent when he’s actually a GOP foot soldier and patriot. He’ll go far in a party that reveres Karl Rove.”

Josh Marshall points to a similar situation at the Miami Herald, which joined with a local TV station to put together a panel of eight undecided voters to judge the debate. One of the undecideds, Ted Lyons, said that Kerry often sounded like “an idiot.” As the Herald admitted later in the story, Lyons is actually a Republican political consultant — not, it seems, much of an “undecided” at all. Wonders Marshall: “What the hell was the Herald thinking?”

Marshall also leaped on a story that Fox News has since yanked from its website, without explanation. In that story, John Kerry is said to have exclaimed, post-debate: “Didn’t my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!” The here-then-gone-now piece had Kerry comparing himself to Bush: “I’m metrosexual — he’s a cowboy.”

“Did Kerry really say that stuff?” asks an incredulous Marshall. “Stuff that sounds like classic winger parody? I looked around on Google and no other reporters seem to have gotten those choice quotes from Senator Kerry. A source on the Kerry campaign told me Kerry certainly didn’t say anything remotely like that.”

Finally, a cheap shot from Wonkette!: Jumping on Bush’s debate quip that he was “trying to put a leash on” his rambunctious daughters, the Times magazine cover girl suggests that perhaps the president was attempting “to sell Kerry on the Lyndie England approach to child-rearing.”

We knew somebody would say it. (We even sort of knew who.)

Brian Montopoli

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Brian Montopoli is a writer at CJR Daily.