The Washington Post replies:
Ifill's Book is no Secret
Updated 12:55 p.m.
By Howard Kurtz
It's no secret that Gwen Ifill has been working on a book about the younger generation of black politicians. The PBS correspondent talked about "Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama" in a Washington Post article on Sept. 4.
But today, the day before Ifill is to moderate the vice-presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, a conservative Web site made an issue of the book, which quickly ricocheted onto the Drudge Report. "VP Debate Moderator Ifill Releasing Pro-Obama Book," said the headline on World Net Daily picked up by Drudge.
There is no evidence that the book will be favorable to the Democratic nominee. Ifill, the host of "Washington Week," told The Post she is focusing on Obama and three other up-and-coming politicians, such as Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. She said she started the book when it looked unlikely that Obama would win the Democratic nomination.
"The book has been out there and discussed for months," said PBS spokeswoman Anne Bell. "It's a non-issue."
On the World Net site, the "Deal of the Day" is a $4.95 offer for what is described as the "Obama blockbuster: 'Anatomy of Deceit.'" The Web site says the book "reveals" that "his brand of change is a hostile attack on the Judeo-Christian values and freedoms most Americans hold dear."
In The Post interview, Ifill said that as the daughter of a minister who marched in civil rights demonstrations, she recognized the historic nature of Obama's candidacy. But, Ifill said, "I still don't know if he'll be a good president. I'm still capable of looking at his pros and cons in a political sense." She added: "No one's ever assumed a white reporter can't cover a white candidate."
Ifill, who has worked for NBC News, the New York Times and The Washington Post, was widely viewed as doing a fair job as moderator of the 2004 debate between Vice President Cheney and John Edwards. She drew a bit of criticism for asking a question about Cheney's former company, Halliburton, and when the vice president said he would need more than 30 seconds to respond, she said: "Well, that's all you've got." Ifill said she was not trying to be snippy toward Cheney.
Update: Ifill will face one handicap at the debate. She broke her ankle Monday night, her birthday, after tripping while carrying some files up stairs at her home.