More Ifill fallout: Race and peer review

Tonight’s vice presidential debate moderator Gwen Ifill says she never mentioned her pro-Obama book, slated for post-election release, to the Commission on Presidential Debates.  (Via Captain Ed.)  Would it really have been that hard for the CPD to Google Ifill’s name once or twice?

Meanwhile, Ifill is getting testy about the book, now playing the race card:

Ifill questions why people assume that her book will be favorable toward Obama.

“Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon (who is white) when he wrote his book about Reagan?” said Ifill, who is black. Asked if there were racial motives at play, she said, “I don’t know what it is. I find it curious.”

She can ask the Columbia Journalism Review (thanx again, Captain Ed), which echoes the point I made yesterday; i.e. Ifill may well turn out to be a model moderator, but a moderator with a book in the works whose sales depend largely on who wins the election just doesn’t look good.

Conflict of interest is often about appearances. There appears, to us, to be a conflict in Ifill moderating tomorrow night’s vice presidential debate. Here’s why:

Ifill’s upcoming book is called “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.” It, apparently, “surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African American politicians [like Newark Mayor Corey Booker and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick] forging a bold new path to political power.”

The book apparently will be published on January 20th, 2009, Inauguration Day.

It stands to reason that a book with such a title would sell better if a certain person is inaugurated on that day.

The damage is already done; it would embarrass too many people to get a new moderator at this point.  My solution is a thought I never thought I’d have in my life:  a second Palin-Biden debate.


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