Apr
06
2010

Distorting the Polling on Tea Party Supporters

Is theTea Party movement actually more politically diverse than the "liberal media" would have you believe? Andrew Malcolm, a blogger for the L.A. Times who used to be Laura Bush's press secretary, thinks so. He wrote yesterday (4/5/10) about a pair of polls that came out about the Tea Party movement: For upwards of 12 months now members of the so-called Tea Party protest movement have been stereotyped, derogated and often dismissed by some politicians and media outlets. They've been portrayed variously as angry fringe elements, often inarticulate, potentially violent and merely Republicans in sheep's clothing or disgruntled pockets of […]

Mar
31
2010

Without Info on Oil Price Non-Effect, Offshore Drilling Reports Are Just Gas

Implicit in much coverage of the offshore drilling debate is that such oil has the potential to lower gasoline prices. The L.A. Times' report (3/30/10) on the Obama administration's new offshore drilling plan provided this context: The announcement will come in the run-up to summer driving season, as gasoline prices have begun a national march toward $3 a gallon, and beyond that in California…. Energy companies and conservatives have clamored for increased drilling since gasoline prices spiked during the 2008 presidential campaign. Like virtually all offshore-drilling coverage (CEPR, 9/08), the L.A. Times doesn't note that drilling in coastal areas will […]

Mar
12
2010

L.A. Local News: Next to None

The Los Angeles Times reports(3/12/10)on a new study of local news from theUSC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism's Norman Lear Center. The findings are hardly surprising: There is almost no local political coverage on TV news. As the Times notes, "An average half-hour newscast devoted just 22 seconds to government issues, including city budgets, healthcare, layoffs and law enforcement." Coverage of local politics works out to just under 2 percent of the "news hole"; on the other hand, crime stories make up closer to three minutes ofa givennewscast. While that's terrible, the L.A. Times waits until the end of […]

Nov
20
2009

LAT: 'Risky' Tax Hikes on Wealthy

A headline in today's Los Angeles Times (11/20/09): "Democrats Risk Taxing the Wealthy for Healthcare." The paper explains: Embracing the progressive–and sometimes politically risky–principle that the cost of carrying out public policies should fall to the well-off more than the disadvantaged, both the House and Senate bills would place new taxes on the wealthy to help pay for expanded insurance coverage. Since mostly people aren't "well-off," and raising taxes on the wealthy tends to be rather popular with most people, what exactly is the political risk here? Surely the article will tell us. Oh, here it is: In a recent […]

Nov
16
2009

Media to Obama: Less Talk, More War

From ABC World News, 11/11/09: CHARLIE GIBSON: We understand he's raising new questions about a number of plans that are in front of him. What new questions are there to be asked after all this time? MARTHA RADDATZ: Well, you would think he'd be through with the questions, Charlie. Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times (11/15/09): Barack Obama is in danger of giving deliberation a bad name. David Broder, Washington Post (11/16/09– headline: "Enough Afghan Debate") It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the […]

Nov
03
2009

Drone Strikes Change Anonymous Washington Debate

The Los Angeles Times (11/2/09) gives readers a mostly upbeat account about the use of unmanned drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan– weapons that have killed hundreds in Pakistan in recent years. But Times reporter Julian Barnes tells us their popularity with U.S. military officials has "changed the nature of the current policy debate in Washington." The evidence: The technology allows us to project power without vulnerability," said a senior Defense official. "You don't have to deploy as many people. And in the modern age you want as little stuff forward as long as you can achieve the effects as if […]

Oct
07
2009

Searching for the 'Middle' in Afghanistan Debate

In most policy debates, the media preference is for a solution in the "center," whatever they define that to be. A Los Angeles Times headline today on the Beltway debate on Afghanistan reads: "Obama mulls middle ground in Afghanistan war strategy." Like the healthcare debate, the media's version of "the middle" usually means something well to the right of actual public opinion. In this case, it's even harder to follow than that; as the Times puts it, Obama "suggested he is looking at the middle range of the spectrum, somewhere between a major increase in forces and a large drawdown." […]

Jul
29
2009

LA Times Acknowledges Gaping Hole in Media's Healthcare Debate

An LA Times column today cited FAIR's petition demanding that the TV networks include single-payer in their coverage of the healthcare reform debate, acknowledging that there is a "gaping hole in much of the media coverage–caused by the failure to investigate practices around the rest of the world, particularly European-style, single-payer programs." The Times' James Rainey concluded his column, "TV Needs To Deepen Coverage of Healthcare Reform," with a report on the delivery of FAIR's petition at ABC–the network that disinvited Obama's longtime physician Dr. David Scheiner, a single-payer advocate, from its June 24 "Prescription for America" program: The liberal […]

Jun
17
2009

The L.A. Times' Guide to Sexism and 'Nerds'

Blogging about a male-only film promotion contest at San Diego's Comic-Con, Charlie Jane Anders (io9.com, 6/15/09) also notices the "L.A. Times published an insulting 'guide for girls'" about the convention–which starts out by assuring readers that contrary to what you might believe, the event "is not just for nerdy guys anymore. And it's not all just about the influx of squealing Twilight girls, either." Wow, really? You mean women can be into genre entertainment other than Twilight? Apparently so. Because there are more vampires, from True Blood and the upcoming show The Vampire Diaries. And there'll be "ass-kicking heroines" from […]

May
04
2009

Curious Polling and Obama's Worrisome Popularity

Two newspapers have flagged some concerns about Barack Obama's popularity, citing a new poll to raise questions about the public's enthusiasm for White House policies so far. Both accounts, though, seem to try to hard to stretch the rather awkward poll results to match their arguments. In the Los Angeles Times (5/3/09), Peter Nicholas noted that while the public still supports Obama, "the activist government Obama has unleashed is increasingly worrisome to voters, polls show." He explained: An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 47 percent of those surveyed believe "government should do more," compared with 46 percent who believe […]

Apr
01
2009

Listening to Limbaugh

In his op-ed "Take the Limbaugh Challenge," (L.A. Times, 3/29/09), conservative writer Andrew Klavanstates as a "certainty" that L.A. Times readers don't listen to Rush Limbaugh's show: If you are reading this newspaper, the likelihood is that you agree with the Obama administration's recent attacks on conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh. That's the likelihood; here's the certainty: You've never listened to Rush Limbaugh. What's more, Klavan claims to listen to Limbaugh frequently, and says he has never heard him "utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word." To someone like me who has been talking about racist, hateful and stupid […]

Mar
12
2009

I Couldn't Eat Another Bite, I'm…98 Percent Empty?

Under the Onion-ready headline "Obama Calls for Earmark Reform, Signs Earmark-Laden Spending Bill," (3/12/09), the L.A. Times' James Oliphant and Christi Parsons begin their story: President Obama railed against pork barrel projects on Wednesday. Then he signed a massive spending bill stuffed with them. I'm not sure what the cut-off for something being "stuffed" with something else is, but I'm pretty sure that 2 percent doesn't qualify. Maybe the word they're looking for is "sprinkled"?

Feb
27
2009

L.A. Times on the 'Controversial' Budget

Today's L.A. Times report (2/26/09) on the White House budget includes this curious warning: The document–which included broad goals and few line items–laid down controversial markers on almost every major issue facing the country. Among the immediate budget winners are the middle class and the poor, whose taxes will be eased. Among the losers are the wealthy, whose taxes will increase, along with those of drug companies and oil and gas companies. Lower taxes for everyone but the very wealthy, drug companies and the oil industry?! Why, the public outrage will be Santelliesque!