Jun
15
2011

Tea Party: Anti-Corporate Corruption Fighters?

Some in the press still seem to have trouble defining whatever it is that motivates the Tea Party movement. I noticed this in an L.A. Times piece last week (6/5/11): Americans possess a long-standing wariness of power and its potential as a corrupting influence, especially in the hands of large institutions. That instinct bred our government system of checks and balances and, more recently, led members of the "tea party" to embrace the nation's founders (repackaged as a band of small-government crusaders) as the guiding lights of their movement. So "wariness of power" and the "corrupting influence" of "large institutions" […]

Jun
14
2011

The Press Plays Water Guns With the Bidens (Again)

Seriously, another one of these? Like last year, maybe some of the reporters involved find it valuable for the people they cover to get to know them on a more personal level, away from all the tough questions and dogged investigations.

Jun
08
2011

WaPo's False Equivalence on Founder Misquotes

"Senators, congressmen and even President Obama have misquoted the Founding Fathers in recent years," writes Washington Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold in a June 7 piece suggesting that there is a bipartisan trend of misquotation and misrepresentation of historical events. After citing Sarah Palin's recent botched account of Paul Revere's revolutionary ride, Fahrenthold implies that historical distortion comes from a variety of political quarters: But in Washington, nobody should feel too smug, as Palin is hardly the only politician with a habit of helpfully twisting the historical record, accidentally or not, and sometimes with politically handy consequences. If Fahrenthold means […]

Jun
07
2011

Sean Hannity and Scandalous Double Standards

Last night (6/6/11), Fox News host Sean Hannity was talking with WorldNetDaily's Joe Farah: FARAH: Charles Rangel is still in the House. Barney Frank is still in the House. Bill Clinton is getting awards. Gerry Studds got a standing ovation from House Democrats. This is a guy who had sex with a congressional page, correct? HANNITY: But what about–you know, you think back when Republican scandals come up, they all bail out. I can't think of one that ever stayed, can you? He's got a point. Except for Republican Sen. David Vitter (prostitution scandal, still in office). And Republican Sen. […]

Apr
05
2011

The Bob Woodward School of Journalism

On Sunday's episode of NBC's Chris Matthews Show (4/3/11), the panel actually talked about criticism of the mainstream media, with some citing the media's Iraq War debacle as a major factor in the rise of blogosphere-based media criticism. The discussion got somewhat confused along the way, as this segued into a discussion of the entirely unrelated phenomenon of Republican political candidates who do not like to speak to journalists. Then the Washington Post's Bob Woodward weighed in with a solution. He explained that you can get in good with politicians–I mean, do investigative journalism–if you follow his simple advice: Tell […]

Apr
04
2011

'Revamping' Medicare? The Word They're Looking for Is 'Slashing'

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 […]

Mar
21
2011

To Milbank, Ending NPR and Afghan War Are Both 'Trivial Pursuits'

Washington Post Dana Milbank (3/19/11) skewers the Republicans for their "emergency meeting" to defund NPR: This particular emergency involved the lower end of the FM radio dial. Republicans, in an urgent budget-cutting maneuver, were voting to cut off funding for National Public Radio. All $5 million of it–or one ten-thousandth of 1 percent of the federal budget. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office ran the numbers and calculated the impact this emergency measure would have on government spending: "No effect." One of the rules of corporate media balanceisthat if you criticize Republicans, you have to findan example of similarbuffoonery on the […]

Feb
22
2011

Republicans, Doing Just What Democrats (Never) Did

Sometimes the premise of an article is just all wrong. Like this from Monday's New York Times (see bold): As Republicans See a Mandate on Budget Cuts, Others See Risk By ADAM NAGOURNEY and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN WASHINGTON — In Congress and in statehouses, Republican lawmakers and governors are claiming a broad mandate from last year's elections as they embark on an aggressive campaign of cutting government spending and taking on public unions. Their agenda echoes in its ambition what President Obama and Democrats tried after winning office in their own electoral wave in 2008. They're talking particularly about the […]

Jan
11
2011

NYT: Clintonian Centrism a 'Strategic Masterstroke'

A New York Times profile (1/8/11) of author/economist Robert Reich was headlined "Obama the Centrist Irks a Liberal Lion." It's hard not to see where reporter Michael Powell comes down in the debate over Democrats moving to the right: Mr. Reich sees a parallel with his former boss, Mr. Clinton, and draws no comfort from the comparison. Confronted with a muscular Republican majority in the House in 1994, Mr. Clinton mastered triangulation, which is to say he sailed into a sea neither Republican nor Democratic. It was a strategic masterstroke, but he threw overboard some liberal founding stones. It's hard […]

Jan
10
2011

Bob Schieffer and the Eloquence of John Boehner

On CBS's Face the Nation (1/9/11), host Bob Schieffer declared: Democracy's arguments have never been pretty, but technology has changed the American dialogue because we can now know of problems instantly. We expect answers immediately and when we don't get them, we let everyone know in no uncertain terms. We scream and shout, hurl charges without proof. Those on the other side of the argument become not opponents but enemies. Dangerous inflammatory words are used with no thought of consequence. Schieffer singled out one exceptional political leader: "In an eloquent statement, the new Republican House Speaker John Boehner said yesterday's […]

Jan
10
2011

Violent Rhetoric and False Balance

Today in the New York Times Paul Krugman (1/10/11) suggests that we not pretend that "both sides" are responsible for toxic political rhetoric: Where's that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let's not make a false pretense of balance: It's coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It's hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be "armed and dangerous" without being ostracized; but Rep. Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the GOP. …Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you'll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won't […]

Dec
22
2010

Rove, O'Reilly Combine Their Ignorance to Battle Jon Stewart

Last night on Fox News (12/22/10), Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly attempted to defend GOP opposition tothe James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, whichwould providehealth care for 9/11 Ground Zero workers. In his final broadcast of the year (12/16/10), Comedy Central's Jon Stewart devoted the entire show to lambasting the Republican opposition.Stewart's attention to the issue seems to have pushed other media outlets to pay attention to this issue. (With any luck, we'll remember this the next time there's a "debate" aboutpeople watchinga comedy show instead of "real" news.) Rove and O'Reilly'sdefense of GOP intransigence is hardly […]

Dec
13
2010

Obama's Best Week Ever?

On yesterday's Chris Matthews show on NBC, the assembled journalists all seem to agree that Barack Obama's decision to cut a tax deal with Republicans and come out swinging against the left was great news. Time's Mike Duffy: "These liberals may scream, but they've been screaming about Barack Obama since the beginning. This isn't anything new." Chris Matthews and NBC's Andrea Mitchell went back and forth about whether this was an actual "Sister Souljah moment" or a "mini moment." But Helene Cooper of the New York Times summed up the conventional wisdom best: I think President Obama just had a […]