Feb
05
2014

Falsely Presenting Obamacare as a Job-Killer

Congressional Budget Office logo

When the Congressional Budget Office released a new report about the Affordable Care Act, some in the media botched the story by portraying the news as a triumph for Republican spin.

Sep
27
2012

NYT on Obama's Deficit Talk: Get a Load of Brainiac

Barack Obama at Michigan commencement, 2009.

The New York Times' Jackie Calmes has a piece yesterday (9/26/12) on Obama's failure to rein in the budget deficit. The big problem is that Obama's explanation is apparently hard to follow: Four years ago, Barack Obama campaigned for president on a promise to cut annual federal budget deficits in half by the end of his term. Then came financial calamity, $1.4 trillion in stimulus measures and a maddeningly slow economic recovery. Now, despite small annual improvements, the deficit for the fiscal year that ends on Sunday will surpass $1 trillion for the fourth straight time. Against that headline-grabbing figure, […]

Jul
15
2011

Media Malpractice on the Debt Debate

The convention in mainstream journalism is that the new stories give you the facts, and the columnists give you their opinions (hopefully backed by facts). But in the coverage over the debt ceiling and budget debates sometimes you're better off heading straight to the columns. Today offers a good example. In the Washington Post (7/15/11), Ezra Klein lays out the political dynamic that is rarely explained. As Klein writes, the White House has decided to offer Republicans a deal that is not only much farther to the right than anyone had predicted, but also much farther to the right than […]

Jan
21
2011

NYT Hits Deficit Panic Button (Again)

Big news in the New York Times today (1/21/11): According to their new poll, Americans overwhelmingly support slashing military spending. Wait–that's not the news. According to the story by Jackie Calmes and Dalia Sussman (headlined "Poll Finds Willingness to Cut Spending, Just Not Medicare or Social Security"), the real story is that people don't like the idea of cutting these entitlement programs, but arereally worried about the budget deficit: While Americans are near-unanimous in calling deficits a problem–a "very serious" problem, say 7 out of 10–a majority believes it should not be necessary for them to pay higher taxes to […]

Nov
29
2010

NYT and Centrism, Continued…

Right here on November 12, we asked what the New York Times means when it talks about "centrism"– specifically when it comes to Beltway deficit reduction plans. The Times framed the proposal from deficit commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson as offering the Obama White House an opening to move to the center. That piece, written by Jackie Calmes, was updated by the very same Jackie Calmes today (11/29/10), as she reported on two pending deficit reduction plans from the liberal/progressive side. As she wrote: Liberal organizations will unveil debt-reduction proposals of their own in the next two days, […]

Nov
12
2010

Hey, NYT: What Exactly Is 'Centrism'?

Reporting on the proposal from debt commission chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, a New York Times article (11/11/10) by Jackie Calmes framed the discussion this way: Mr. Obama created the commission last February in the hope it would provide political cover for bold action against deficits in 2011. His stance now, in the wake of his party's drubbing, will go a long way toward telling whether he tacks to the political center–by embracing such proposals–or shifts to the left and leaves them on a shelf. The duo's proposal is a remarkably regressive plan to cut Social Security benefits and […]

Oct
26
2010

NYT Back on the Deficit Train

On today's front page, under the headline "Deficit Divisions Likely to Grow After Election," New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes writes this lead: WASHINGTON — A midterm campaign that has turned heavily on the issue of the mounting federal debt is likely to yield a government even more split over what to do about it, people in both parties say, with diminished Democrats and reinforced Republicans confronting internal divisions even as they dig in against the other side. It is difficult to know what to make of this; the Times recently noted that the public doesn't spend much time thinking […]

Sep
30
2009

NYT: Swerving to the Right Is a 'Middle-of-the-Road Approach'

Right turn only (cc photo: Phillip Winn)

In a story about the Senate Finance Committee voting down two amendments that would have added a public option to the committee's healthcare bill, New York Times reporters Robert Pear and Jackie Calmes (9/29/09) write, "The votes vindicated the middle-of-the-road approach taken by the committee chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana." The Times just had a poll that found 65 percent of respondents were in favor of a public option, with just 26 percent opposed. To call the approach favored by the rightmost one-quarter of public opinion "middle-of-the-road"–well, maybe someone ought to take away Pear and Calmes' car keys […]

Feb
23
2009

NYT's 'Budget Analysts' Blow Smoke on Social Security

Jackie Calmes reports in the New York Times (2/23/09): The president signaled in his campaign that he would support addressing the retirement system's looming financing shortfall, in part by applying payroll taxes to incomes above $250,000. But that would ignite intense opposition from Republicans, especially with the economy deep in recession. Liberal Democrats are already serving notice that they will be equally vehement in opposing any reductions in scheduled benefits for future retirees. But any solution, budget analysts said, must include a mix of both approaches, though current beneficiaries would see no change. Really? Budget analysts said it was impossible […]