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 [...]
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 [...]
"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 [...]
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 ChÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÂ¡vez–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 [...]
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 couldnÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢t wait to get my next script," [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
In a column in the Baltimore Sun, journalism professor John F. Kirchdoes a quick tally of coverage of third-party presidential candidates in 2008: According to a basic Lexis/Nexis database search of election coverage from August 5 to November 5, the Washington Post and the New York Times published a combined 3,576 news stories, editorials, op-eds, photographs and letters to the editor about Mr. Obama and 3,205 items about Mr. McCain. By contrast, the two dailies published only 36 items about independent Ralph Nader, 22 about Libertarian Bob Barr, five about Green Cynthia McKinney and three about the Constitution Party's Chuck [...]
This is the tease for tonight's O'Reilly Factor: New Gallup poll shows McCain gaining ground. Karl Rove, Dick Morris and Dennis Miller weigh in.
Tom Brokaw, the interim host of NBC's Meet the Press, and NBC analyst Chuck Todd expressed bafflement on last Sunday's Meet the Press (10/26/08) at how Latinos had "turned on the Republican Party" and their "friend" John McCain: TODD: I mean, this, this Hispanic–one of the things we–underreported story of the cycle is how Hispanics have just turned on the Republican Party, hurting John McCain. Frankly…. BROKAW: Who is a friend of theirs. TODD: Who is a friend of theirs. BROKAW: Right. TODD: You know, this is a Shakespearean–you know, the S… BROKAW: Right. It's hard to know exactly where [...]
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz wrote in his column today: McCain is never going to draw the kind of attention for his mortgage bailout plan that he did for telling David Letterman he "screwed up" by canceling an earlier appearance, or that Palin did in appearing with Tina Fey on Saturday night. Really? I had my intern, Daniel Ward, look up some numbers. A search on Nexis for "McCain and Letterman and screwed up" turned up one story apiece on the news ABC and NBC, and three stories on CBS–which airs the Letterman show. Meanwhile, the Washington Post, L.A. [...]
Not-exactly-progressive journalist Joe Klein has been on a bit of a tear over at CNN's Swampland blog, declaring himself (10/6/08) to be of two minds about how to deal with the McCain campaign's further descent into ugliness. Their strategy is simple: you throw crap against a wall and then giggle as the media try to analyze the putresence in a way that conveys a sense of balance: "Well, it is bull-pucky, but the splatter pattern is interesting . . ." which, of course, only serves to get your perverse message out.