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 […]

Jan
03
2011

Newsweek: Obama=Bush on War, and That's a Good Thing

Stephen L. Carter has a piece over atNewsweek that points out that Barack Obama hardly differs from George W. Bush when it comes to war; as the subhead explains: "How does Barack Obama differ as a commander in chief from his swaggering predecessor? A lot less than you might think." Now that'ssomethingyou don't hearvery often in the corporate media. But Carter meansthis more as a compliment than a criticism, explaining that there were people on the left and right alike who thought that America had elected an antiwar president, but that simply turned out not to be true. Rather, the […]

Nov
30
2010

Richard Cohen Nails That Lying George W. Bush

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen uses WikiLeaks as a jumping off point to talk about George W. Bush's new book and the run-up to the Iraq War (11/30/10): As my colleague, the indefatigably indefatigable Walter Pincus, has pointed out, Bush manages to bollix up both the chronology and the importance of the various inspections of Iraq's weapons systems so as to suggest that any other president given the same set of facts would have gone to war. "I had tried to address the threat from Saddam Hussein without war," he writes. On that score, he is simply not credible. The […]

Nov
12
2010

What–if Anything–Does Bush Know About the Iraq War?

Time magazine's Joe Klein has read George W. Bush's memoir, and has a few criticisms (11/11/10); for instance, he points out that Bush never stops to wonder if the UN inspectors, whom Saddam Hussein had allowed back into Iraq, were not finding weapons of mass destruction because, maybe, uh, the WMD didn't exist. That's a good question, but it's not surprising that Bush didn't raise it, sinceBushhas repeatedly claimed thatSaddam Hussein did not allow weapons inspectors into Iraq in the first place.As FAIR pointed out in an Action Alert ("Media Still Letting Bush Lie on Iraq Inspectors," 12/2/08), Bush peddled […]

Nov
10
2010

Interviewing Bush: Lauer's Lowlights

NBC star Matt Lauer's one-on-one interview with George W. Bush revealed very little in the way of information, though some lessons could be drawn from Lauer's mediocre performance. Here was one comment from near the top of the interview: The Florida recount. Hanging chads. A divided Supreme Court. George Bush had a rough road to the White House. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 by half a million. By many reasonable standards, he should have lost the Florida recount too. The Supreme Court made him the president. I'm not sure "rough" is the right way to describe what happened […]

Nov
09
2010

Bush Is Back–And So Is Softball Journalism

Over athis Nation Media Fix blog (a must-read), Greg Mitchell watched Matt Lauer's NBC interview with George W. Bush, and wasn't impressed. He writes: Time after time Bush would offer a whopper and Lauer either said nothing, or expressed sympathy for the poor man who was subjected to such harsh criticism. It went that way, from Bush saying there was "no intelligence" prior to 9/11 about terrorists maybe wanting to fly planes into buildings to stating flatly that lack of regulations had anything to do with the financial meltdown. Bush said he had zero doubts about the WMD intelligence on […]

Nov
08
2010

Bush's 'Sickening Feeling' on WMDs Was an Inside Joke With the Press

"I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do." That's how George W. Bush referred to the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in his new book Decision Points. The quote is featured in Time magazine's Verbatim section (11/15/10), and has been discussed pretty widely. This is an interesting claim.When Bush appeared at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner on March 23, 2004, his sickening feeling was gone–and replaced by his funny bone . Bush's speech included a routine where he joked about the fruitless search for Iraq's deadly weapons, showing slides where administration […]

Nov
03
2010

NYT: It's Still Not Torture If Bush Did It

Back in June, a study by Harvard students (echoing earlier work in Extra!–5-6/08) found that media outlets like the New York Times consistently called things like waterboarding torture when they reported on them–that is, until the Bush administration's torture came to light. The study sparkeda lot of discussion, with the Times responding that it didn't refer to waterboarding as torture because it wanted to avoid "taking sides in a political dispute." In today's New York Times (11/3/10), a review of George W. Bush's new book shows that the Times is sticking with that formula: He likewise defends his decision to […]

Jul
16
2010

NYT, Equating Stimulus With the Iraq War, Recalls the Bush-Era 'Boom'

Notingthat policies like the stimulus plan tend to poll pretty badly, New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes (7/16/10) that Obama says he has pursued such policies because they're "the right thing to do for America." To Stolberg, that sounds familiar: It is an argument that sounds eerily similar to the one Mr. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, made to justify an unpopular war in Iraq as he watched his own poll numbers sink lower. Mr. Bush and his aides often felt they could not catch a break; when the economy was humming along–or at least seemed to be […]

Jul
17
2009

Big Media's 'Steadfastly Neutral' 'Partisan Ideologues'

Asking his readers to "remember" that, on NBC, Chuck Todd "is billed as a reporter covering the White House, not a pundit expressing opinions," Salon's Glenn Greenwald (7/15/09, ad-viewing required) examines a Todd appearance on the MSNBC show Morning Joe "discussing reports that [U.S. Attorney General] Eric Holder is likely to appoint a prosecutor to investigate Bush torture crimes. Needless to say, everyone agreed without question that investigations were a ridiculous distraction from what really matters and would be terribly unfair": In response to virtually every media criticism (at least the few they acknowledge), establishment journalists will insist that their […]

Jul
12
2009

MSM Still Ignoring Bank Bailout Alternatives

A Tiny Revolution blogger Jonathan Schwarz (7/9/09) has posted a reminder that "back in March Phillip Swagel, who'd been assistant treasury secretary under Hank Paulson, wrote a long article about the TARP bailout called 'The Financial Crisis: An Inside View.'" Thinking that maybe "it would be news if Swagel had stated that Paulson, Bernanke and Bush's attempts to foment panic to pass the bailout have 'surely' contributed to the current recession," Schwarz lays out some quotes showing that actually "he did": "The way in which the TARP was proposed and eventually enacted surely must have contributed to the lockup in […]

Jul
06
2009

Iraq: 'Supreme' War Crime, or Simply 'Unnecessary'?

As Barack Obama and his pliant media pundits are "talking up the achievements of the six-year occupation," Consortium News' Robert Parry (7/1/09) is writing of the "public celebrations by Iraqis marking the American pullout from Iraq's cities." Parry's look back the last six years' reality clearly recalls how, "relying on false intelligence and laughable legal theories, Bush justified launching what the New York Times may call an 'unnecessary war' but what was in reality a 'war of aggression'"–constituting, Parry reminds us, "what the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II deemed 'the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes […]

Jun
27
2009

The WaPo's Last Flash of 'Accountability Journalism'?

In Dan Froomkin's last column for the Washington Post (6/26/09), he promises to "continue doing accountability journalism"–as good as any self-description to distinguish his work from his typical Post colleague's obsequiousness–and tries "hard to summarize the past five-and-a-half years" in which "George W. Bush was truly the proverbial emperor with no clothes": In the days and weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, the nation, including the media, vested him with abilities he didn't have and credibility he didn't deserve…. How did the media cover it all? Not well. Reading pretty much everything that was written about Bush on a daily […]