Jun
30
2011

Why Did Mark Halperin Call Obama a Dick?

Time magazine's Mark Halperin called Barack Obama a dick on MSNBC this morning. The video clip is posted all over the web today, and Halperin and MSNBC have both apologized. Forget about that for a second, and ponder why Halperin said it. The media line on Obama's press conference is that he was unusually feisty, partisan and/or populist. These are qualities the media tend to abhor in Democratic politicians, who are constantly counseled to work with Republicans or stay in the media-defined "center" in order to succeed (and remember that their "center" is often off to the right, politically speaking). […]

Jun
30
2011

Hugo Chavez's Diabolical Conspiracies

The Washington Post's Juan Forero comments today (6/30/11) on how Hugo Chavez's illness means that he's off television: Chavez governs like the host of a reality show, cameras always rolling as he presides over summits, hectors opponents and warns of diabolical American plots to unseat him. Wherever would he get such ridiculous ideas.

Jun
28
2011

New Action Alert: CBS and Factchecking Bachmann

FAIR has a new action alert about CBS Face the Nation and Michele Bachmann. Read it here, and if you write a letter to CBS please post it in the comments section below.

Jun
27
2011

Andrew Breitbart Is an Ink Blot

That's not my opinion– that's what I learned reading the New York Times today (6/27/11). Jeremy Peters profiles the right-wing scam artist, telling readers (emphasis added): Some of his reader-generated scoops have reverberated all the way to the halls of the United States Capitol, like the Weiner photos and undercover video he released of ACORN workers offering advice on how to evade taxes and conceal child prostitution. After the videos went viral Congress ended grants to ACORN, and federal agencies severed ties with the group. That wasn't the lesson of the ACORN videos at all. After a long battle, the […]

Jun
27
2011

To NYT, Tea Party's Talk Is More Newsworthy Than an Actual Progressive Budget

"Tea Party Plans Its Own Debt Panel" reads a headline in today's New York Times (6/27/11), where reporter Kate Zernike described efforts by the well-financed right-wing lobbying group FreedomWorks to organize a debt commission that will come up with yet another right-wing fiscal blueprint. They don't have a plan yet–they're merely talking about having meetings that would produce a plan: "It aims to have proposals ready by January, when the presidential campaign will draw even more attention to economic proposals." Well, they're off to a good start in the Drawing Attention department. Remember, the People's Budget of the Congressional Progressive […]

Jun
24
2011

USAT Debates Afghan Withdrawal, Minus the Debate

USA Today has a piece today headlined "Drawdown's effects debated"– meaning the timetable for troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. The article starts with critical comments from U.S. military officials David Petraeus and Mike Mullen, who say they think the troop withdrawals are too much, too soon. And on the other side of this debate? USA Today explains: "Critics however say the drawdown risks reversing hard-won gains against the Taliban." In other words, critics who question the wisdom of the troop withdrawal. The piece quotes a litany of such pro-war voices: Seth Jones of the Rand Corporation, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Danielle Pletka […]

Jun
24
2011

Bill O'Reilly Makes a Mess of the Economic Mess

On last night's Fox show (6/23/11), O'Reilly gave viewers a lesson in… well, something: So why is this happening? Well, it all boils down to political philosophy. President Obama is a liberal guy who believes the feds should run the economic show, and he hired advisers who believe that as well. The administration then set out to fight the recession by spending government money, the so-called stimulus, and that ran up trillions of dollars of debt. Historically, the way out of recessions is to give the private sector lower tax rates and reward businesses for hiring people. But the Obama […]

Jun
23
2011

USAT: Anti-war movement applauds Obama speech?

An analysis in USA Today (6/23/11) by Richard Wolf claims: President Obama's decision to remove 10,000 troops from Afghanistan this year and a total of 33,000 by next September was deemed a step in the right direction Wednesday by a growing, and bipartisan, anti-war movement. Really? I'm not aware of many people in the "anti-war movement" who have expressed that sentiment. And neither is USA Today, judging by the quotes that are included in the article. The piece notes that "Many Democrats called for a faster drawdown" and "Many liberal Democrats demanded more troops home sooner"– naming Sen. Carl Levin, […]

Jun
22
2011

NYT and the Pampered Public Worker's Pension

When you see a headline like "Public Unions Take On Boss to Win Big Pensions," you know what you're going to get– more scaremongering about runaway public employee pensions. The New York Times delivers, with a lengthy front-page piece by Charles Duhigg that mostly takes the side of the Republican lawmakers trying to cut benefits in the name of fiscal discipline. The article is largely based around Jim Righeimer, a conservative activist turned city council member in Costa Mesa, California, whose become something of a national star on the right. He can rattle off the anecdotes about sky-high pensions: The […]

Jun
22
2011

WaPo Defines Obama's Afghan War Mission

The headline in today's Post, previewing Obama's speech tonight: Obama's Challenge: Leaving, but Not Too Quickly Funny how it's not the other way around–leaving too slowly would seem to be a larger political problem, given the state of public opinion. The Post reports: President Obama will face a stiff political challenge Wednesday in presenting his plan for a gradual end to the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. His prime-time address must remind a skeptical electorate and a concerned Congress that the country's longest war remains worth fighting–and funding–for several more years. Why is it that Obama must "remind" the public […]

Jun
21
2011

Jon Huntsman Couldn't Possibly Run For President

I stumbled upon this ABC report not too long ago, and it seems especially timely given Huntsman's announcement today. It's not to say that ABC was uniquely off the mark. The point is that much of what passes for political coverage– the handicapping, the horserace, the insider chatter– is useless. ABC News Transcript WORLD NEWS SATURDAY May 16, 2009 Saturday SURPRISE PICK; A POLITICAL MASTER STROKE DAVID MUIR (ABC NEWS): President Barack Obama made a surprise appointment today that has both parties in Washington buzzing tonight. The President had pledged to reach across the aisle, and today, he did just […]

Jun
21
2011

USA Today Misses the Point on Voter ID Laws

USA Today's Fredreka Schouten reports (6/20/11) on states adopting photo ID laws to crack down on the nearly non-existent problem of voter fraud. Schouten lays out the argument: Proponents say the measures prevent vote fraud. Opponents say they are designed to stifle turnout among students, poor people and minorities, who are more likely to vote for Democrats but might lack government-issued IDs, such as driver's licenses and passports. Actually most opponents tend to point out that there is no voter fraud problem. Any decent report on this subject would point this out– otherwise readers are left with the impression that […]

Jun
21
2011

'We Are a Profit-Driven Industry'

"I mean, we are a profit-driven industry. And if you want the most eyeballs, you have to go with the thing that people are most talking about. But if you're trying to do a quality program, then maybe you have got to go with Iraq and Iran." –Politico's Julie Mason, explaining the amount of coverage of Anthony Weiner (CNN, 6/19/11) UPDATE: Jim Romenesko reports that Gannett will be laying off 700 employees: That's about 2 percent of the workforce, according to Gannett US Community Publishing division president Bob Dickey. 'The economic recovery is not happening as quickly or favorably as […]