May
02
2011

Bush's Palpable Persistence in Pursuit of bin Laden

In today's edition of the Washington Post (5/2/11), Dan Balz puts forth what is probably going to be a popular theme in the coverage of the killing of Osama bin Laden: that catching the Al-Qaeda leader was a top concern of both the Bush and Obama administrations. Bush put down the marker not long after the September 11 attacks, saying he wanted bin Laden "dead or alive." That was taken as a sign of cowboy swagger by a Texan president by some of his critics, but it was a reflection of the absolute importance that he and much of the […]

Apr
28
2011

Donald Trump's Mysterious Control of the Media

Some mystical power forces the corporate mediato cover Donald Trump. In the New York Times today: But White House officials concluded about a month ago that the falsehoods had moved from "the nether regions of the Internet" into the mainstream political arena, thanks in large part to the efforts of Mr. Trump, the real estate developer and reality television host who has used the issue as a media magnet. Dan Balz of the Washington Post elaborated on the PBS NewsHour: I mean, I think that the press probably does bear some responsibility for this but there's no question that what […]

Apr
26
2011

Ron Paul Is Not a 'Serious' Candidate–Unlike Donald Trump

The first role of the corporate press in an election cycle is to weed out candidates who they deem nonviable. This usually means choosing not to cover candidates whose ideas that fall outside the Beltway conventional wisdom (e.g., Dennis Kucinich), or those who reporters decide have no real chance of winning the nomination. The speculation that reality TV star/mogulDonald Trump might run in 2012 flips the narrative around–and demonstrates the fact that the media can change the "rules" whenever they want. Trump is extremely unlikely to actually run, and his "ideas" mostly revolve around a long-debunked conspiracy theory that Barack […]

Apr
11
2011

WashPost: Obama/GOP Budget Cuts Are What the People Ordered

Washington Post reporter Dan Balz (4/10/11) presents the Obama/GOP budget deal asevidence that the White House wasmerelyrespondingto public opinion: Most important was showing the country that he could make Washington work. "Like any worthwhile agreement, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them," he said. At the same time, knowing that the public also favors reduced spending, Obama pointed to the size of the cuts in the new agreement while noting that his priorities had been preserved. The budget, he said, would "invest in our future." Balz also notes that "the […]

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 […]

Oct
11
2010

WPost: The Midterms and 'Big Government'

Sunday's Washington Post (10/10/10)featured a story by Jon Cohen and Dan Balz that led with this claim: If there is an overarching theme of election 2010, it is the question of how big the government should be and how far it should reach into people's lives. The piece is actually an explanation of the results of a newpoll conducted by the Post along with the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. As Dean Baker noted (10/10/10), "There is absolutely nothing in this article that supports this assertion." He is correct. The Post's report deals with the supposedly conflicted nature of […]

Dec
17
2009

Post Mishandles Post Poll

Yesterday's Washington Post (12/16/09) reports that the public isn't sold on healthcare reform. As the headline puts it: Public Cooling to Healthcare Reform as Debate Drags On, Poll Finds The story by Dan Balz and Jon Cohen explains that "there is minimal public enthusiasm for the kind of comprehensive changes in healthcare now under consideration." Now, how "comprehensive" the reforms under consideration are is certainly debatable, but these conclusions seem to be drawn from questions about costs and Barack Obama's handling of the issue. But the Post did ask other, more interesting questions–and then buried the results. Deep into the […]

Oct
26
2009

The WP's Public Option Polling, Continued….

In the Washington Post (10/25/09), reporter Dan Balz has a piece about the "resurrection" of the public option in the Senate negotiations over healthcare reform. But like the Post's trumpeting of its recent poll on the issue, Balz's rationale doesn't make much sense. As he sees it, Senate Democrats "reevaluated the politics of the public option" in part because support was on the rise: Then last week, new polls, one from the Washington Post and ABC News and the other from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, found clear majority support (57 percent) for a public option. The Post/ABC News […]

Aug
17
2009

The Way They See the World

The big news in the health reform debate is that the White House seems to be willing to give up on the "public option," a government insurance program that would compete with private insurers. Everyone sees this as a big story, but there's something revealing about the way the Washington Post's Ceci Conollyled her piece: Racing to regain control of the health-care debate, two top administration officials signaled Sunday that the White House may be willing to jettison a controversial government-run insurance plan favored by liberals. In Beltway mediaspeak, "regain control" must mean doing something that right-wing Democrats and Republicans […]