CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Today's Cincinnati Enquirer carries a 31-paragraph story called "Clinton Rips Obama." It is the biggest story in the Sunday paper. It is long on political drama, but shallow on crucial detail. Nowhere does the Enquirer story mention that the Long Island tabloid Newsday admitted last week Hillary never used the word "boon" to describe NAFTA. Yet Obama cites Newsday as the source for the quoted "boon." You would not know that from reading today's Enquirer. The Cincinnati newspaper seems to have short-shrifted its readers about a major ongoing development in the Democratic presidential primary.
The Gannett Co. Inc.-owned Enquirer -- which covered Hillary's Cincinnati appearance where she publicly scored Obama for distorting her words -- totally failed to dig into or mention the running back story about 'boon.' But details have been widely reported by Ohio's political bloggers, including the Daily Bellwether, for more than a week, and are available here. The Enquirer's shallow journalism makes it appear Hillary has no evidence on which she can base her counter-punch against Obama. Just two paragraphs are given to the "boon" dispute, and neither specifically mentions that Newsday itself said it had mischaracterized her position. Here's the Enquirer:
"The second mail piece says that Clinton called NAFTA a 'boon' to the economy -- a statement that might hurt her with thousands of Ohio workers who believe their jobs disappeared because of the trade agreement.
"Clinton said she never used the word 'boon' in describing NAFTA, saying that a newspaper mischaracterized her position."
But Newsday had already admitted Obama was "misleading" voters by putting the boon in quotes. Here's what Newsday posted on its Web site:
"Obama's use of the citation in this way does strike us as misleading. The quote marks make it look as if Hillary said 'boon,' not us. It's an example of the kind of slim reeds campaigns use to try to win an office. That said, we should have been clearer."
The New York Times today went deeper than the Enquirer and reported:
"It was not the first time the Clinton campaign had seen the trade flier, which cites a Newsday article that says Mrs. Clinton believed the North American Free Trade Agreement was a 'boon' to the economy. Mrs. Clinton said the newspaper had since corrected the article. (Editors from Newsday responded on its Web site last week, stopping short of a correction but saying, 'Obama's use of the citation in this way strikes us as misleading.')
As the NYT and others noted, the Obama campaign still contends its use of the word 'boon' is proper. Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in an e-mail, "Everything in those mailers is completely accurate." Of course, that didn't appear in the Enquirer, either.