Jul
29
2011

Robert Samuelson: We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Old

When your column is headlined "It's the Elderly, Stupid," I guess readers should know what to expect. Robert Samuelson delivers in today's Washington Post (a column that will appear elsewhere around the country, unfortunately), in a nasty diatribe about the kind of debt debate he thinks the country should be having–one that blames older people: Older Americans do not intend to ruin America, but as a group, that's what they're about. On average, the federal government supports each American 65 and over by about $26,000 a year (about $14,000 through Social Security, $12,000 through Medicare). At 65, the average American […]

Jul
29
2011

Where Does Press Set Bar for Bachmann?

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote a rather apoplectic column about presidential candidate Michele Bachmann this week, lamenting the fact that other GOP candidates aren't calling her out for being completely ill-prepared for the job: Bachmann does not deserve to be in the presidential race. Legislatively, she has done little, she knows next to nothing and what she thinks she knows is wrong. He also called her "an ignoramus" and "a bigot when it comes to gays." Straight news coverage obviously isn't going to put things like that. But what's remarkable is how reporters seem to give Bachmann credit for […]

Jul
29
2011

Iran Helping Iraqi Insurgents…Make That Al-Qaeda

"Iran arming Iraq insurgents"was last month's story. Today's papers are telling a different story; the new line being pushed by U.S. officials is that Iran is supporting Al-Qaeda. Today's Washington Post: Iran Allows Money, Recruits to Reach Al-Qaeda, U.S. Says 'Secret deal' allegedly supports activities of terrorists in Pakistan In the New York Times: Treasury Accuses Iran of Aiding Al-Qaeda Associated Press: U.S. Accuses Iran of 'Secret Deal' With Al-Qaeda The Post calls this "the most serious U.S. allegation to date of Iranian aid to the terrorist group"– though it later notes that "U.S. officials have repeatedly accused Iran of […]

Jul
27
2011

Friedman's Dream: If Only We Had a President Like Obama

In the debt ceiling debate, Republicans and corporate media have somewhat similar strategies: The GOP can't reach an agreement with the Democrats, because that would be a win for Obama. The media, meanwhile, can't say that the Democrats are doing the right thing, even when they're doing exactly what media pundits demand that they do because that would make the media seem like they were on the Democrats' side. Thomas Friedman's column today (7/27/11) is a great example of this. Aside from what sounds like a call for a series of Tom Friedman impersonation festivals (i.e., "a series of hearings […]

Jul
27
2011

The Secret of Rick Perry's Texas Jobs Miracle? Government Jobs

The speculation about whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry will jump into the Republican presidential race boils down to one word: Jobs. Perry's state has been generating jobs at an impressive rate–which Perry likes to think is due to low taxes and lax regulations. Some of the coverage points to important caveats–the booming oil economy, for instance, and rapid population growth both make Texas fairly unrepresentative. Today the Wall Street Journal has an excellent piece by Ana Campoy and Sara Murray about the Texas miracle. The papers shows that many of these jobs are in the public sector; a million total […]

Jul
27
2011

What WaPo Won't Tell You About CIA's Yemen Drone Base

In a piece today, the Washington Post's Greg Miller reports on a CIA base that will be used to conduct drone strikes in Yemen: The agency is building a desert airstrip so that it can begin flying armed drones over Yemen. The facility, which is scheduled to be completed in September, is designed to shield the CIA's aircraft, and their sophisticated surveillance equipment, from observers at busier regional military hubs such as Djibouti, where the JSOC drones are based. The Washington Post is withholding the specific location of the CIA facility at the administration's request. The existence of the base […]

Jul
26
2011

ABC's Drivel About 'Partisan Rancor'

Some of the media commentary around the debt ceiling bemoans the state of the partisanship in Washington. Much of the chatter is about a supposed failure to compromise. As Josh Marshall argues, "this is simply false, even painfully so." By any reasonable standard, the White House and the Democratic leadership have made an array of drastic compromises in order to win favor with Republicans–who are basically refusing to go along, since denying Obama any kind of "victory" is a key part of their electoral strategy for 2012. But in corporate media, "balance" is essential. So both "sides" must be held […]

Jul
26
2011

For Beck, Norway Shooter Wasn't Right-Wing–Though His Victims Were 'Hitler Youth'

Glenn Beck (7/25/11, via Mediaite, 7/25/11) explains on his radio show why the right-wing Norway terror suspect is what we call left-wing here in America: This was one of the episodes where I showed the railroad tracks that were different than America. In America, the left railroad track is gigantic government–it could be Communist or Fascist, it doesn't matter, it's giant government. The other side of the track is anarchy or very, very small government. So that's the left and right here in America. The Left and Right in Europe, because, once they got rid of the kings, they didn't […]

Jul
25
2011

Tom Friedman's Radical Center, 2012 Edition

"Make Way for the Radical Center" is exactly the sort of headline that suggests a story one might want to skip. But this is a Tom Friedman column (7/24/11), so you know it's going to be good for…something. This time around, the jet-setting third party advocate is writing about something called Americans Elect, which Friedman hails as "a viable, centrist, third presidential ticket, elected by an Internet convention." "I know it sounds gimmicky," he writes. Well, yeah. Also slightly familiar, to anyone who remembers Unity '08, which was once described as "an Internet-based third party that plans to select its […]

Jul
25
2011

Mistakes, Madeleine Albright and Dead Iraqi Children

Newsweek has a feature called "My Favorite Mistake," where a famous person talks about something they've done wrong.http://www.fair.org/blog/wp-admin/edit.php This week (7/24/11) it's former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The mistake she cited was when she wore the wrong pin to a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and then said something critical about his Chechnya policy. (The best mistakes are the most self-serving ones, apparently.) When I saw the headline, I was half-wondering if she'd talk about her famous defense of killing Iraqi children on 60 Minutes (5/12/96): Leslie Stahl asks Albright: "We have heard that half a million children […]

Jul
25
2011

Diallo Speaks: Are There Holes in the 'DSK Case Crumbles' Narrative?

Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is now speaking out publicly–weeks after press coverage took a turn against her, based on the notion that something about her made her allegations less credible. "Strauss-Kahn Prosecution Said to Be Near Collapse" was the July 1 New York Times headline. One of the strongest bits of evidence was the claim that Diallo spoke to a friend, in prison on a drug charge, about Strauss-Kahn's wealth–the implication was that she and a criminal associate were plotting out how to profit from the assault. Newsweek's cover story this week is based […]

Jul
25
2011

Obama's Right-Wing Plan to Win the Center

Forget about "winning the future"–Barack Obama wants to win the center. That's what the Washington Post is telling readers (7/25/11): Obama 'Big Deal' on Debt a Gamble to Win the Center Advisers think securing his plan would ensure general-election victory The Post's Zachary A. Goldfarb (who can't be held responsible for the headline) explained that Obama was making Republicans an offer they couldn't refuse. In exchange for trillions of dollars in cuts, including to Medicare and Social Security, Republicans would have to agree to a fraction of that in increased tax revenue. He added: Obama's political advisers have long believed […]

Jul
25
2011

Time: The U.S. Audience Is Different

Every so often you're struck by something like this– a collection of covers for this week's Time: