Pundits' discussions of the Affordable Care Act rollout assumes that the law represents some kind of "activist government" intervention to disrupt the normally smooth workings of the private sector. But that is neither the intent nor the effect of the law.
Hillary Clinton hasn't announced that she's running for president in 2016, and launched a campaign yet. But the Washington Post is already complaining that her nonexistent campaign for an office she may or may not seek lacks a clear message. "Clinton’s gender likely would be a significant asset," writes chief correspondent Dan Balz (8/12/13), adding: "It, however, is not a message." One has to admire the first 44 presidents of the United States, each of whom somehow managed to achieve the office without the benefit of this asset. The next day (8/13/13), Post columnist Richard Cohen picked up on Balz's […]
With the election over, you're seeing familiar corporate media advice about the need for Obama to move to the right and learn to compromise with Republicans. Some of this is based on a frankly nonsensical view of the polarization that accompanied his first term. Matt Bai of the New York Times writes (11/7/12): There are, of course, plenty of explanations for why Mr. Obama's election did not usher in a less contentious political moment. Republicans say he squandered his opportunity to remake the political climate by adopting a traditionally liberal agenda. They point to his first big initiative, the stimulus […]
Washington Post ombud Patrick Pexton (9/30/12) presents conservative opinion as a prima facie case for a left-wing slant in corporate news media: "Republicans think the news media are being too easy on Barack Obama…. Everyone sees more bias, and Republicans see it more than other groups." Offering this as evidence of a left media bias is, of course, highly dubious. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans say that humans aren't warming the planet. Sixty-three percent still maintain that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans "believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 […]
Washington Post columnist Dan Balz has a big scoop from an anonymous source in today's paper (8/14/12): The choice, like most vice presidential selections, also was a way for Romney to say something bigger about the kind of campaign he hopes to run. In that sense, advisers say, Ryan was "Mitt's pick, completely." "Stories talk about it being a bold choice," said one senior Romney adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk about the decision. "To me, it was a confident choice. He was very confident in himself, in Paul Ryan, in the campaign and in the […]
Campaign coverage often gets bogged down in trivia—inconsequential polling data, the latest "off message" comment by an associate, and so on. But then there are the "gaffes," when politicians say something that we're told means a lot more than it might seem. Barack Obama's 2008 comment about small-town voters clinging to their guns and religion was one. In 2000, Al Gore was a Media Gaffe Machine: Love Canal, internet inventing, etc. Most of them didn't check out, but that's not what matters. Gaffes are elevated when reporters think they reinforce something about a politician. In 2000, NPR's Cokie Roberts said […]
Last week, Washington Post reporter Dan Balz explained that Newt Gingrich was "an idea-spewing machine" and a "one-man think tank"–even warning that "a keen intellect can also translate into the appearance of intellectual superiority." Well OK. A few days in Balz's paper, readers learned that in a recent speech Gingrich called Barack Obama a "food stamp president." Which I think must be some wonky think tank rhetoric. Matthew Yglesias also noted that in the same appearance, Gingrich advocated a return to Jim Crow-era voting laws, saying: "But maybe we should also have a voting standard that says to vote, as […]
Washington Post reporter Dan Balz has a front-page piece about Newt Gingrich's announcement that he's running for president. Balz calls Gingrich's Twitter declaration a "milestone in presidential politics," adding that Gingrich "is an idea-spewing machine," a "one-man think tank" and "someone who has remained in the forefront of the public policy debate over a span of decades" with his "devotion to the intersection of ideas and politics": Gingrich has "kept himself in the middle of public policy debates on healthcare, education, energy and foreign affairs." One possible downside, Balz warns: "A keen intellect can also translate into the appearance of […]