Mar
08
2011

Hawks vs. Hawks: Debating U.S. Military Intervention in Libya

The New York Times has a piece today (3/7/11) about the debate over U.S. military intervention in Libya. The paper reports that there are persistent voices–in Congress and even inside the administration–arguing that Mr. Obama is moving too slowly. Reporters David Sanger and Thom Shanker contend that there is too much concern about perceptions, and that the White House is too squeamish because of Iraq. And who are those persistent voices? The most vocal camp, led by senators John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, and Joseph I. Lieberman, the Connecticut independent and another hawk on Libyan intervention, say […]

Jan
24
2011

John McCain: TV Talk's Indispensable Man

A few laughs on CBS's Face the Nation yesterday (1/23/11): BOB SCHIEFFER: And we begin this morning welcoming back to Face the Nation for the first time in exactly one year Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the person who, by the way, has been on this broadcast more than any other politician now in office. Well, senator, you haven't been here in a year. What were you doing? Were you busy back in Arizona or what? JOHN MCCAIN: Busy and thanks for having me back on. And it's probably the longest absence in all these years too. So I'm glad […]

Nov
05
2010

At Meet the Press, It's Heads GOP Wins, Tails Democrats Lose

Meet the Press announced that its show this Sunday will feature two conservative Republican guests, Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.). Well, that's only natural, because the GOP did so well on Tuesday, winning back the House…. Right? Oh wait…. Here's Meet the Press's then-host Tim Russert on November 12, 2006: Our issues this Sunday: The voters send a loud and clear message to the White House, and give the Democrats control of the House and the Senate for the first time in 12 years. What now for the Republicans? We'll ask a man who is positioned […]

Aug
26
2010

Help Us, John McCain–You're David Broder's Only Hope!

Some in the media just can't let go of John McCain. David Broder's column today is really headlined, "John McCain, Your Country Is Calling." He explains that he wasn't "bothered by the doctrinal compromises the senator made to convince Arizona voters that he was, in fact, a conservative. McCain has always been a realist, doing what was necessary to survive a North Vietnamese prison camp or a tough political trap." So a senator willing to do whatever it takes to get elected is apparently a badly needed voice of conscience in Washington. OK. McCain's role, according to Broder, should be […]

Aug
04
2010

Animals Are Funny, and Other News From ABC

Matthew Yglesias (8/3/10) has a good takedown of senators John McCain (R.-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn's (R.-Ok.) list of supposedly wasteful stimulus projects that generated an "exclusive" on ABC's Good Morning America (8/3/10): Jon Chait observes that McCain and Coburn also seem to have decided that anything relating to animals is necessarily waste. Hence a small grant to fund research on cocaine addiction and relapse is turned into "Monkeys Getting High for Science." Hardy-har-har. There's a case to be made that the government has no role to play in funding scientific research, but it's a mighty bad case. If you think […]

Jun
16
2010

L.A. Times on the Afghanistan 'Debate'

Today's Los Angeles Times (6/16/10)has thisheadline: Debate Grows Over Afghanistan Withdrawal Plan The lead: Recent setbacks in Afghanistan have intensified debate over the wisdom of the Obama administration's plan to begin withdrawing U.S. military forces next summer and highlighted reservations among military commanders over a rigid timeline. Debating the war– let's have at it. Onone side are U.S. military officials, who are portrayed as having "reservations" about a withdrawal timeline. On the other side: Sen. John McCain, who… well,has serious reservations aboutwithdrawal timelines. Not part of this debate: the 53 percent of the U.S. public (ABC/Washington Post, 6/3-6/10) who say […]

Feb
05
2010

Dana Milbank Misses the Mythical John McCain

"I miss John McCain," writes the Washington Post's Dana Milbank today (2/5/10). Milbank calls himself "an original McCainiac"–by which he means that he, like so many others in the corporate media, adored the so-called "maverick"John McCain of the 2000 presidential campaign. As we've pointed out plenty of times before, McCain's Senate record has staunchly conservative throughout his career–except for those anomalous years, just before and after his unsuccessful bid for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, when the press mostly fell in love with him. Wishing for that McCain to return is akin to wishing that politician would just lie to […]

Sep
14
2009

Yes, It Is Possible to Exaggerate How Hated Obama Is

"It is difficult to overstate President Obama's unpopularity in most of Louisiana," writes Campbell Robertson in a front-page New York Times article (9/11/09). Yet Robertson managed to pull it off. Robertson continues: "He lost handily to Senator John McCain here, picking up only 14 percent of the white vote. (The state is roughly two-thirds white.)" Fourteen percent? Wow, that is unpopular! But given that black and other non-white people have been able to vote in Louisiana for several decades now, wouldn't it make sense to give the actual share of the vote Obama received? That would be 40 percent, which […]

Aug
11
2009

U.S. Media's 'Connection' to Honduras Coup

Foreign Policy In Focus analyst Conn Hallinan (8/6/09) has yet another debunking of "the story most U.S. readers are getting about the coup" in Honduras, being "that Zelaya–an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez–was deposed because he tried to change the constitution to keep himself in power." Calling this dominant media narrative "a massive distortion of the facts," Hallinan patiently explains that "all Zelaya was trying to do is to put a non-binding referendum on the ballot calling for a constitutional convention"–which, Hallinan notes, was "a move that trade unions, indigenous groups and social activist organizations had long been lobbying […]

Jul
13
2009

NYT's 'Egregious and Absurd' Editorial Priorities

Brad Jacobson is resurrecting the "NYT Front|Back" feature of his Media Bloodhound blog (7/10/09)–spotlighting the New York Times' "penchant for placing a supremely unnewsworthy story on its cover while burying a vital one in its back pages"–only for "the most egregious and absurd examples." The current example being their July 7 front-page headliner, "In Sex Film Industry, Some Long for a Real Plot": No, this isn't satire. It's a cover story on our nation's paper of record…. The article opens: The actress known as Savanna Samson once relished preparing for a role. "I couldn't wait to get my next script," […]

Mar
27
2009

Howard Kurtz: Media Critic and Comedian

Salon's Glenn Greenwald has an explanation (3/23/09, ad-viewing required) for why he thinks that Howard Kurtz's belief that the image of corporate reporters as "just a bunch of cozy Washington insiders" is not "that big a deal"–because "there's such a built-in adversarial relationship between the press and the pols"–constitutes "an extremely funny joke today, showing why he is the 'media critic' for both the Washington Post and CNN": That is some very penetrating media criticism there. The media and political leaders are at each other's throats so viciously, they have such sharply conflicting interests, that it's a wonder they can […]

Mar
09
2009

Strange Questions, Strange Journalism

Steve Benen of Political Animal points out a couple of strange questions posed by corporate journalists–one to each of last year's major presidential candidates. In this post, Benen quotes an unnamed New York Times reporter (apparently either Sheryl Gay Stolberg or Steven Lee Meyers) basically red-baiting Barack Obama: "The first six weeks have given people a glimpse of your spending priorities. Are you a socialist as some people have suggested?" The same reporter, or maybe a different one–I guess they were speaking ex cathedra–later pressed Obama: "If you're not a socialist, are you a liberal?" In a later post, Benen […]

Jan
23
2009

The Myth Is Back!

Sometimes you don't need to read more than a headline. Take today's Washington Post: Senate Gets Reacquainted With McCain the Maverick OK, let's read just a bit: Two and a half months removed from his defeat in the race for the presidency, colleagues say, McCain bears more resemblance to the unpredictable and frequently bipartisan lawmaker they have served with for decades than the man who ran an often scathing campaign against Barack Obama. The "unpredictable and frequently bipartisan" John McCain doesn't really exist–McCain has for some time boasted a reliably conservative Senate voting record. (His "maverick" years of 2001 and […]