She got it wrong.
She took a side.
Candy Crowley may finally have done something else as well: so visibly tipping the scales of media bias that the end result makes Mitt Romney the next president.
Taken all together, CNN's Candy Crowley, in her zeal to intrude on the presidential debate and save President Obama from himself, may just have provided the televised moment that finally sparks a revolt against the four years of fawning coverage of President Obama.
Becoming to the liberal media what the Tet Offensive was to Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War.
For four years the mainstream media has done everything in its power to portray Barack Obama as the Second Coming, the messiah, or, in the immortal words of one-time Newsweek honcho Evan Thomas, "God." Chris Matthews described thrills down his leg. Katie Couric purred in a sycophantic Obama interview with hard hitting questions like this:
You're so confident Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken? Do you ever wake up and say "damn, this is hard"?
Tuesday night Candy Crowley became the latest -- and perhaps the most important -- example of what Fox's Bernard Goldberg called in his book title A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media.
For those who missed the drama, Romney discussed the Libya episode this way:
There were many days that passed before we knew whether this was a spontaneous demonstration or actually whether it was a terrorist attack. And there was no demonstration involved. It was a terrorist attack, and it took a long time for that to be told to the American people. Whether there was some misleading or instead whether we just didn't know what happened, I think you have to ask yourself, why didn't we know five days later, when the ambassador to the United Nations went on TV to say that this was a demonstration. How could have we not known?
To which Obama responded thusly:
The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror. And I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime. And then a few days later, I was there greeting the caskets coming into Andrews Air Force Base and grieving with the families.
Romney, incredulous at such a blatant untruth, turns directly to Obama and responds:
I think it's interesting; the president just said something, which is that on the day after the attack, he went in the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror. You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration.
Now Obama is irked at being challenged, and the following goes down:
OBAMA: Please proceed.
ROMNEY: Is that what you're saying?
OBAMA: Please proceed, Governor.
ROMNEY: I -- I -- I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
At which point, unasked and on her own, Crowley tried to rescue the hapless President, saying to Romney: "It -- he did in fact, sir."
Obama grabbed the media lifeline, saying: "Can you say that a little louder, Candy?"
Of course, Romney was in fact right. On September 12 the President, his faithful companion Hillary Clinton at his side, stepped into the Rose Garden and said this, bold emphasis mine:
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.
And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.
Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.
And make no mistake, justice will be done.
Plainly, the President decidedly did not label what had happened in Benghazi an "act of terror." What he quite clearly did was make a general reference to "acts of terror" plural.
Then, on Tuesday night, Candy Crowley tried to give him cover.
As the criticism of her performance piled up, Crowley hastily beat a retreat after the debate ended. Romney, she conceded on CNN air, was "right" after all.
Of course he was right.
Too late now.
No matter how the liberal media tries to scrub it (as here in the HuffPo, where Rebecca Shapiro laughingly defends the Obama lie outright by simply writing a false story saying Romney was "fact checked"), Crowley has illustrated in vivid fashion just how the Obama media plays the game.
Not for nothing did former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu describe CNN as the "Groupie" network.
Why is this important now?
In all the debate analyses of Tuesday's debate there seems to be something that is forgotten. Obama is a president with a four-year record. Every single time Americans go to the gas pump, the Obama record is staring them in the face. On Tuesday night, in relentlessly direct fashion, Mitt Romney worked his way through the wreckage that is the Obama record -- from those "four bucks" gas prices to the 23 million unemployed to the 15%-plus poverty rate to the 47 million now on food stamps.
The Obama record is not a theory. It is not a gauzy "hope and change" view of the future. It is everyday reality for millions. Say again: reality.
After CNN was through giving the debate to Obama, there was the alarmed acknowledgment that well, yes -- on the issue of the economy, the issue dominating the campaign -- Romney was in fact trouncing Obama 58%-40% in a CNN poll. John King noted grimly that if those numbers were true, the election was over.
To believe that someone who has no job, someone struggling to pay for a gallon of gas, someone who is reduced to food stamps and is damn angry about it -- is sitting on a sofa grading the latest debates on "points" is somewhere beyond rationality.
Which brings us back to Candy Crowley.
Somewhere along the line I've met Candy Crowley. She's a nice soul. But she made a mistake the other night, and in the context of this election, with millions believing the mainstream media is in the tank for Obama -- that urge to jump into the debate and do "fact-finding" on the fly has now become emblematic.
A tipping point, to borrow from author Malcolm Gladwell's best seller The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.
A tipping point emblematic of four years of a mainstream media doing everything in its power to avoid honest coverage of a president. To give him not just cover but unadulterated idolatry.
Before Ms. Crowley even sat down in her moderator's chair the New York Times was embroiled in a set-to with its own Public Editor over the fact that it had exiled the stunning news about Libya and the conduct of the administration from the Times front page.
The Media Research Center, as always on point, was quick to showcase Crowley's conduct. Wrote Rich Noyes
The liberal tilt of questions selected by CNN's Candy Crowley was so obvious, even the gang on NBC's Today -- hardly a conservative bastion -- thought it remarkable. Correspondent Chuck Todd opined Wednesday morning: "The President also benefitted from many questions posed by the so-called undecided voters, covering issues near and dear to his liberal base.…"
When it came to Crowley's Libya intervention Noyes wrote:
Among many others, the Washington Post's fact checker, Glenn Kessler, pointed out the obvious: "He [Obama] did not say 'terrorism' -- and it took the administration days to concede that it [was] an 'act of terrorism' that appears unrelated to initial reports of anger at a video that defamed the prophet Muhammad."
Indeed, back on September 30, Crowley on her CNN Sunday program State of the Union, hit Obama advisor David Axelrod on exactly this point: "Why did it take them [the White House] until Friday [September 28], after a September 11 attack in Libya, to come to the conclusion that it was premeditated and that there was terrorists involved?"
In other words, Crowley knew the Obama administration initially tried to deny the Libya attack was terrorism, but suggested otherwise when it truly mattered, on a debate stage with tens of millions watching.
Add it all up, and Crowley's posture on Tuesday night was that of a pro-Obama participant, not the impartial moderator that voters expect.
MRC President Brent Bozell was crystal clear about Crowley's performance -- something he had warned about when the debate commission announced its all-liberal cast of debate moderators.
Crowley was an utter disaster last night, and was, by far, the worst moderator of the 2012 election.
The Libya cover-up continues, and the national news media need to start asking some tough questions -- including questions about one of their own. If Obama was correct that on Day 1 he said it was a terrorist attack, why did his UN ambassador say on five different national interviews that it was a YouTube video that was responsible, and who put her up to it? If he saw this as a terrorist attack from the very beginning, why did the president himself blame it on a video six times during a UN speech? Why has he made the statement so many times, as has Hillary Clinton, as has Jay Carney, as have others?
And why did Candy Crowley validate this lie?
Can you say Slobbering Love Affair?
Libya aside (other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?), Crowley is being targeted for the liberal bent to the questions she and her staff selected. Particularly noticeable was the selection of a woman who wanted to know from Romney the difference between Romney and George W. Bush. There was no moment where Crowley jumped in to ask of Obama the differences between himself and Jimmy Carter.
It will come as a shock to no one that Crowley interrupted Romney 28 times -- and Obama a mere 9. God bless Breitbart.com.
Liberal bias in the media has long ceased to be a news story. The success of Fox News, talk radio, and the Internet has ended the liberal monopoly of the media.
But this last debate with Candy Crowley may have a serious impact well beyond the story of yet another liberal moderator playing favorites.
In this inflammatory atmosphere? With such an incredibly potent issue involving the death of an American ambassador, two Navy SEALs, and a foreign service officer? Added to an economy that is so visibly in the dumper?
Candy Crowley's behavior may make her the liberal media equivalent of what the Tet Offensive was to the Vietnam War -- and President Lyndon Johnson.
The tipping point.
The point at which a major historical event is tipped to a conclusion certain. Changing history and forcing the end of a presidency.
In the case of the Vietnam War, the Tet Offensive -- which was actually thwarted by the U.S. military of the day -- was presented to the American people as a military disaster. While the war formally went on until 1973, ending in a disastrous evacuation, the media portrayal of the Tet Offensive attack tipped the scales. The opposition that was once limited to far leftist student protestors went mainstream and eventually forced an end to the war -- although not to Communist murder and oppression as was promised by anti-war activists. Two months and a day after all the negative media coverage of Tet in January of 1968 -- Lyndon Johnson, the liberal darling of 1964's Johnson/Goldwater race -- dropped out of his race for re-election.
Tet was a Big Deal. No minor thing.
Crowley's conduct in contrast is a small thing. On the surface, just one more tedious example of liberal media bias.
But Gladwell's point is that "ideas, behavior, messages, and products…often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease." That "just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu" so too can one person launch a social epidemic.
The idea that the liberal media is deliberately trying to fix the 2012 election for Obama is now rampant, spreading across America faster than the flu in February.
And sitting at that debate moderator's desk in such a highly visible moment in American history, Candy Crowley's action in putting her thumb on the scale with the lights and cameras on and running in front of millions -- may finally have been something wildly unintended.
The tipping point for the liberal media.
A tipping point that makes Mitt Romney the 45th President of the United States.