Sometimes — not too often, but sometimes — we at Campaign Desk find ourselves a friend in the blogosphere. So it is today with Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler, whose ongoing series “They Surf During Ads” sounds a lot like Campaign Desk. Today, Somerby claims that the press corps “has slumbered, snoozed and snored” its way through the presidential race. He takes special aim at The New York Times. Imagine.

Somerby’s particularly irked at the coverage of campaign advertising claims (or, more precisely, the lack thereof). “Spending records are being shattered as Candidate Bush airs slashing TV ads,” he writes in today’s installment. Yet, the watchdogs of the media are letting allegations made in the ads go generally unchallenged.

Today, he targets a story by Times reporter Jodi Wilgoren about the Bush ad that has John Kerry’s describing his votes for and against an $87 billion appropriations bill funding action in Iraq and Afghanistan. “She says that Kerry is being slammed at as a flipper — but fails to say that Bush took separate stands on the bills, just as Kerry did,” writes Somerby.

Somerby, who promises to continue his own ad watch this week, asks: “If these ads are misleading voters, you’d think the press corps, demons of diligence, would want to help those voters find out. In fact, in a year when so many ads are being run, you’d think the press itself would be flooding the zone with critiques of the crucial commercials.”

Bob, we couldn’t have said it better.

Somerby — and Campaign Desk — aren’t the only ones pining away for higher-class journalism.

Josh Marshall caught a Reuters news story about congressional reaction to new photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse. The reporter quotes Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.): “It felt like you were descending into one of the wings of hell and sadly it was our own creation.”

Wings of hell? asks Marshall. Maybe “rings of hell,” as in Dante, he supposes. As it turns out, the Reuters reporter heard wrong and Durbin’s classical analogy was on the money. “Where are E.D. Hirsch and Allan Bloom when we need them?” asks Marshall.

Blame it on too much TV.

Susan Q. Stranahan

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Susan Q. Stranahan wrote for CJR.