Jun
10
2013

On Sunday Shows, NYT Mostly Misses the Point

nyt-sundayshows

The remarkable thing about the Sunday shows is not that they have the same guests over and over–it's that they have the same Republican and conservative guests over and over.

Mar
27
2013

How 'Unlikely' Is Mark Sanford's Comeback Really?

Mark Sanford

The journalists amazed by Mark Sanford's comeback make the mistake of assuming that since the GOP spends so much time preaching "family values" and "social conservatism," Republican pols who violate these preachments must pay a greater price than less moralistic Democrats.

Mar
18
2013

George Will & Theoretical Liberal Media Bias

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George Will offers imaginary headline to prove his point about liberal media bias. Real headlines, unfortunately, don't back up his case.

Jan
22
2013

Journalists Say Obama Still Too Mean to Republicans

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Since the consensus seems to be that Obama's inaugural address was actually a statement of a bold, progressive vision for his second term, it's not a surprise that some in the corporate media are upset. Obama's words were seen as particularly injurious to Republicans, who presumably already feel bad enough as it is.

Nov
27
2012

NYT Waves Goodbye to Three Amigos of Militarism

John McCain and Joe Lieberman (photo: Talk Radio News Service)

Not every politician gets a warm and fuzzy retirement profile in the New York Times. But not every politician is Joe Lieberman.  Jennifer Steinhauer's piece (11/27/12) is a tribute mostly to Lieberman's close bond with Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The "Three Amigos" traveled the world together, advocating for one hawkish foreign policy idea after another: Their hawkish world views often placed them at odds with their respective parties, but together they secured a place at the center of every major foreign policy debate. That's mostly true of Lieberman, but it's hard to figure how McCain and Graham much […]

Sep
06
2012

AP's Mostly Factless Factcheck

One of the problems with media "factchecking" is the notion that all things must be "checked" equally. If you factcheck a Republican and find three whoppers, your fact check of a Democrat better work real hard to find a comparable level of spin or dishonesty. Which is exactly how Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo and Tom Raum approached Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic convention last night. Clinton's speech–along with others–"either cherry-picked facts or mischaracterized the opposition." But their first example is extraordinarily weak. They quote Clinton talking about the difference between Obama and Republican leadership when it comes to […]

Aug
23
2012

Politicians Lie–and Reporters Can't Report That

There's an interesting Politico story (8/22/12) about Andrea Seabrook, who until recently was a Capitol Hill reporter for NPR. She's moved on to a new independent reporting project, but it's what she said about her previous gig that's most revealing: "I realized that there is a part of covering Congress, if you're doing daily coverage, that is actually sort of colluding with the politicians themselves because so much of what I was doing was actually recording and playing what they say or repeating what they say," Seabrook told Politico. "And I feel like the real story of Congress right now […]

Jul
30
2012

Never Maverick McCain Back to Still Not Being Much of a Maverick

Political reporters, for whatever reason, have always had a lot invested in John McCain. Reporters were enthralled by McCain the "maverick" 2000 presidential candidate, advancing the campaign's theme that McCain was a different kind of Republican. There was never much to this act; McCain had a solidly conservative record before being lionized as a maverick. He briefly tacked to the middle after losing the Republican nomination in 2000, then was soon back to being one of the most reliably conservative Republicans in Congress. But the press that made the maverick storyline stick is stuck with it, and every so often […]

Jun
26
2012

This Just In: Hillary Clinton's Scrunchie

Take my word for it. Diane Sawyer, ABC World News (6/21/12): And now to the ongoing master class in letting your hair down, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.These past few months, we've been watching her swig a beer, brandish a scrunchie without apology, and makeup free and telling everybody she doesn't care what they think. And today, donning wing-tipped purple glasses at the swearing in of a new assistant secretary whose favorite color just happens to be purple. Proof that nobody does unplugged quite like the secretary of state, who is leaving office by the end of the year. […]

May
24
2012

If GOP Was Anti-Racist, Why Wasn't Buckley a Democrat?

The conservative National Review, which has had a longstanding attachment to racism (FAIR Blog, 4/11/12) which it has lately shown signs of regretting, now has a cover story (5/28/12) by Kevin Williamson that argues that the Democratic Party is now and always has been the party of racism, while the GOP has always been the party of civil rights. Sample: That is because those Southerners who defected from the Democratic Party in the 1960s and thereafter did so to join a Republican Party that was far more enlightened on racial issues than were the Democrats of the era, and had […]

May
15
2012

The Only Beltway White Guy Pundits Too Hot for the Sunday Shows?

Norman Ornstein at the Center for American Progress.

Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann are well-known in the Beltway. They work at big-time think tanks (Brookings and American Enterprise Institute), appear on television chat shows, and write books and op-eds that powerful people pay attention to. Lately, though, it seems they've become dangerous men. Mann and Ornstein recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post (4/27/12) based on their new book. In it, they argued that whining about increased polarization or partisanship in politics obscures a central truth: This problem is not seen in equal measure on both sides. The headline summed it up: "Let's Just Say It: The […]

Mar
28
2012

Tom Friedman Likes Countries to Our Left– So Advocates Moving Ours Rightward

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is doing what he does best–traveling the world. In today's column (3/28/12) he finds that other countries' political systems– Australia and New Zealand–are well to the left of our own: In New Zealand and Australia, you could almost fit their entire political spectrum–from conservatives to liberals–inside the U.S. Democratic Party. And somehow both countries manage to confront big issues head on: a carbon tax and cap and trade. They have single-payer healthcare, income support for the poor, and so on. So what's the lesson for American politics? The same as always, according to Friedman. […]

Mar
06
2012

Sandra Fluke Controversy: Distraction or Revelation?

There seems to be a popular line emerging in the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy that says his comments are especially harmful because they distract attention from the real issues. Kathleen Parker (Washington Post, 3/4/12): Inadvertently, Limbaugh also helped advance the argument from the left that Republicans are waging a war against women…. He has given his "feminazis" justification for their claims that conservatives hate women. Peggy Noonan (ABC's This Week, 3/4/12): But what he said was also destructive. It confused the issue. It played into this trope that the Republicans have a war on women. No, they don't, but he […]