Benghazi, the Justice Department seizing AP phone records, and the IRS targeting Tea Party groups: Much of the Beltway press corps–which has pushed the Benghazi story for months–is seeing the Obama presidency in a state of near free-fall. But what's actually happening?
With the election over, you're seeing familiar corporate media advice about the need for Obama to move to the right and learn to compromise with Republicans. Some of this is based on a frankly nonsensical view of the polarization that accompanied his first term. Matt Bai of the New York Times writes (11/7/12): There are, of course, plenty of explanations for why Mr. Obama's election did not usher in a less contentious political moment. Republicans say he squandered his opportunity to remake the political climate by adopting a traditionally liberal agenda. They point to his first big initiative, the stimulus [...]
Over the past few weeks of the presidential campaign we've been hearing a lot–maybe too much–about the September 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. It's been turned into a campaign issue by the Romney team, which has used the incident to charges that the Obama administration is unable to manage foreign affairs and so forth. The intensity of the Republican pushback has made this into a major story. It was the lead issue in the vice presidential debate, and has been a regular subject on the Sunday [...]
One of the main themes of the Republican convention is "We Did Build It," a dishonest twist on something Barack Obama said about public spending on infrastructure. We've already gone through this, in part to point out that many outlets chose to repeat the dishonest manipulation of Obama's words instead of explaining what he had actually said. But Republicans are undeterred, and as Bill Keller of the New York Times (8/28/12) pointed out in a blog post, they found a way to take that dishonesty even further, unveiling videos where Obama is heard saying this: If you've been successful, you [...]
When he's not sharing his thoughts about Barack Obama's birth certificate, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is apparently unveiling a tax plan. It's a flat tax, with a few other details explained by the Washington Post (10/26/11): Perry also would reduce the corporate tax rate from 35percent to 20percent; eliminate taxes on dividends and capital gains; make deep, unspecified cuts in federal spending; and establish individual retirement accounts outside the Social Security system. The article, by Karen Tumulty, gets approving quotes from a Republican adviser and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. But it also says this, in the reporter's own voice: [...]
With a headline like "Public Workers Draining State, Local Pension Funds," I guess you know what to expect from Karen Tumulty's article in the Washington Post today (3/8/11). It appears the story's headline was changed somewhere along the way, but unfortunately the headline wasn't the only problem. Her lead paragraph introduces an obviously unrepresentative case–a guy who somehow had four government jobs in one California town, and thus is enjoying a $500,000 pension. Tumulty writes: Deals like the one he got rankle Californians at a time when the state's public employee pension plans are "dangerously underfunded, the result of overly [...]