At his Beat the Press blog (4/23/11), Dean Baker caught this in the L.A. Times (4/23/11): Congress is on its first recess since Republican leaders unveiled a plan to end the federal deficit by dramatically changing Medicare, cutting other government programs and reducing taxes. As Baker points out, what the paper is referring to–the Paul Ryan budget proposal–does not "end the federal deficit." As he put it: This is like saying they had a plan to fly to moon because they said they would build a rocket. The whole point is the specifics. How would they build a rocket? How […]
The Los Angeles Times' Michael Muskal explains Obama's 2012 campaign: Running for reelection is different than running for the first time because the incumbent has a record that voters can evaluate. Obama will cite healthcare insurance overhaul, his administration's response to the recession and his foreign policy, which includes winding down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Afghan War is winding down? Well, that would be news. Forget about Obama having "a record that voters can evaluate." I'm moreconcerned about reporters' inability to evaluate the present.
Abrave, truth-telling whistleblower has emerged to tell the White House's side of the story in the Libya War. The inside scoop appears in a Los Angeles Times article by Christi Parsons(4/2/11) headlined, "For Obama, a Carefully Calculated Delay on Justifying Libya Airstrikes." Are you confused by the White House's decision-making on Libya? Fear not–everything has gone according to plan. Like, for instance, the delay in public explaining the decision tobomb: The timing was deeply controversial, but was designed to be a major part of the message itself, unfolding as the U.S. chalked up a measure of achievement in Libya and […]
Few pieces better illustrate the uselessness of so much corporate media political journalism than Kathleen Hennessey's piece in the L.A. Times (4/4/11) on Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's deficit reduction plan. The piece is headlined "House Republican Budget Plan Would Revamp Medicare," and the lead explains that the GOP budget proposal outlined by Ryan "includes an overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid and would aim to chop at least $4 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade.""Revamp," an "overhaul"–well, that sounds good, doesn't it? How does Ryan plan to do that, exactly? Despite reporting that Ryan's "broad overview" offered "the […]
It was certainly surprising to see former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier return to the country on January 16. To say he hasblood on his hands is an understatement–the Duvalier regimes were responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and widespread abuse, and stole millions of dollars from the country. Soon thereafter, former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide announced his intention to return to his country.Aristide, twice elected andtwice removed from office, remains a popular figure in Haitian politics. His first stint in office was remarkably peaceful; his second, during which he faced armed attacks that eventually succeeded in overthrowing his government, was […]
The L.A. Times' controversial investigation last year that rated Los Angeles schoolteachers' effectiveness based on a value-addedresearch methodhasfaced a storm of criticism. (See Wayne Au's recent Rethinking Schools piece.) Now the National Education Policy Center has weighed in, finding that the research "was demonstrably inadequate to support the published rankings." The NEPC was covered in the Washington Post and, wouldn't you know it, the Los Angeles Times. Below are the headlines. Go ahead and guess which one is which. Researchers Fault L.A. Times Methods in Analysis of California Teachers Separate Study Confirms Many Los Angeles Times Findings on Teacher Effectiveness
There's an emerging line in the corporate media that Obama's recent bump in the polls is due to the perception that he's shifting to the "center." There's a long record of media encouraging Democrats to move to the right; after the midterms, Wise Pundits were saying that Obama had to pull a Bill Clinton in order to get things back on track. And now we see things like this from the Los Angeles Times (1/24/11): After his party was dealt an electoral blow in November, Obama embraced a compromise that extended the President George W. Bush-era tax cuts, retooled his […]
Obama's selection of conservative Democrat William Daley as his new chief of staff didn't surprise anyone.So reporters were left to explain the political shift behind the move. Some saw little movement at all, since Daley's political views would seem more or less in line with his predecessor Rahm Emanuel. The Washington Post (1/7/11)offered this somewhat confused explanation: His moderate views and Wall Street credentials make him an unexpected choice for a president who has railed against corporate irresponsibility and tried, with limited success, to appease restive liberals who think he has not been tough enough on bankers. Actually, the opposite […]
They don't show–at least in any significant way, with the caveat that thousands of e-mails still remain to be released–the U.S. government seriously misleading its allies. They don't show unauthorized war, fraudulent procurement practices or unexpected assassination. They don't show America forming significant alliances with sworn enemies or visiting unexpected deceit on friends. –James Rainey on the "dearth of scandalous behavior" in the WikiLeaks material (L.A. Times, 12/1/10) How good do you have to be to qualify as good? I haven't killed anybody. See, that's good, right? I haven't committed any felonies. I didn't start any wars. I don't practice […]
The Los Angeles Times reports today (11/16/10) that Barack Obama might give a tax break to the wealthy after all: Obama has loosened his longstanding view that tax cuts should be extended permanently only for households earning less than $250,000 a year ($200,000 for singles). When a reporter suggests that a politician has "loosened" his position on an important issue, it must be the kind of flip-flop the media don't find objectionable.
Whatever lesson you want to draw the midterms, the nation's top editorial pages want to make one thing perfectly clear: Now is the time to move on bipartisan, corporate-friendly "free trade" agreements. "A time for free trade," was the Washington Post's November 7 headline. "The Democratic majority in the House was heavily influenced by organized labor and hostile to trade," the paper announced. "Now that the Republicans are in the majority, all three trade agreements have better prospects–good news for the American companies and workers who would benefit from expanded exports, and for the American consumers who would benefit from […]
The Los Angeles Times reports today (8/13/10) that the "moral argument" over California's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriages, "has morphed into a debate over the democratic process and the propriety of judges overturning laws approved by voters." It's strange, then, that an article on this "debate" would feature only viewpoints from one side: the side that says, "The people voted on it and it should be left alone." All five of the sources quoted by reporter Mike Anton took this position. (There was also a two-word quotation from Judge Vaughan Walker's ruling: "moral disapproval.") Anton does note that "tension […]
As France's lower house of parliament approved a ban on wearing full-face Islamic veils such as the burqa or niqab, many U.S. news outlets left out a key voice in their reports: the Muslim women in France who are actually affected by the ban. Several major outlets, including the New York Times (7/14/10), Washington Post (7/14/10) and the Los Angeles Times (7/14/10), have managed to cover the story without seeking commentary from a single Muslim woman. Out of 11 named sources used bythese newspapers in their July 14 reports, only two were Muslim–both men, one a rector and one leader […]