Apr
24
2012

Who Thinks Paul Ryan Is Mr. Serious?

Sometimes it's the little moments that tell you something–like this from a Meet the Press panel discussion (4/22/12) about potential running mates for Mitt Romney: DAVID GREGORY: E.J., the point though also about Paul Ryan is that if you want to send a message you're serious about the budget you could do that with Paul Ryan. DIONNE: Well, I don't think his budget is serious, so I disagree with the premise of the question. It's worth remembering that in the Beltway media, "Paul Ryan is Mr. Serious Budget" is the neutral, middle-of-the-road position, and someone who thinks otherwise–based on, you […]

Apr
24
2012

Prostitution Scandal Is the Big Government Story You Were Waiting For

The Beltway press is remarkably fixated on two stories: A "scandal" over an $800,000 General Services Administration (GSA) conference in Las Vegas, and the unfolding saga involving prostitutes and some Secret Service and military officers in Colombia. The White House thinks both are bad, of course, but not worth the amount of coverage they're getting. Beltway journalists think otherwise, and seem to want to believe that by paying so much attention to these stories they are a) standing up to the government by exposing wrongdoing; and b) not really talking about prostitutes at all, but telling a larger quasi-morality tale […]

Jul
26
2010

Missing the Point on Shirley Sherrod

The lesson of the Shirley Sherrod story would seem to be a simple one:A conservative blogger with a history of promoting inaccurate, racially chargedstories published another one, and people in the media (not to mention the White House) fell for it–again. But New York Times reporter Matt Bai wrote a piece in the paper's Week in Review section (7/25/10) that soughtto make things a lot more complicated. Under the headline, "Race: Still Too Hot to Touch," Bai laments that the country is still not having a meaningful discussion about race: In many ways, Ms. Sherrod's ordeal followed a depressingly familiar […]

Apr
19
2010

E.J. Dionne: Tea Party a 'Media-Created Protest Movement'

E.J. Dionne has a good column in the Washington Post today (4/19/10) looking at the Tea Party movement, and pinning a fair amount of blame on the press: "The news media's incessant focus on the Tea Party is creating a badly distorted picture of what most Americans think and is warping our policy debates." Looking at the most recent poll of Tea Party supporters, Dionne concludes that racism is clearly a factor in motivating many of these activists. And he makes this point: This must be the first "populist" movement driven by a television network: Sixty-three percent of the Tea […]

Feb
02
2009

In Big Media, Bipartisanship Beats Policy

Sometimes iconoclastic Washington pundit E. J. Dionne Jr. comes up with a winner (Washington Post, 2/2/09) in this description of the crucial media role in political chicanery on the national level: If achieving bipartisanship takes priority over the actual content of policy, Republicans are handed a powerful weapon. In theory, they can keep moving the bipartisan bar indefinitely. And each concession to their sensibilities threatens the solidarity in the president's own camp. That's why last week's unanimous House Republican opposition to the stimulus plan was so important. For the most part, the Republicans escaped attack for rank partisanship. Instead, what […]