Jun
07
2012

NYT Tax Talk: What Does 'Politically Sensitive' Mean?

Most people think rich people should pay more in taxes. And they think the government should spend more to help revive the economy. The New York Times knows this—but still calls this discussion "politically sensitive." Today Jonathan Weisman has a piece (6/7/12) about recent comments by Bill Clinton and former Clinton/Obama economic adviser Larry Summers. The piece primarily channels Republican claims that these Democrats want to keep tax rates low for the wealthy. But that does not appear to be what either of them actually said, and both have released statements denying the Republican spin. Nonetheless, the article treats the Republican […]

Mar
30
2009

On TNR's 'Incredible Dereliction of Basic Journalism'

Jonathan Schwarz has a quick post (3/27/09) over on his A Tiny Revolution blog asking readers, "Have I Lost My Mind?" or "is it really true that the New Republic published a 6,000-word profile of Larry Summers" that wondered if "Summers might appear to have less to contribute on the bank and credit-market front" since "his exposure to Wall Street over the years has been limited." Schwarz has to ask how it was possible to print that passage without mentioning Summers spent several years as a managing director of D.E. Shaw, one of the world's largest hedge funds?… That's such […]

Dec
08
2008

Rare Media Criticism for Obama's Cabinet

The corporate media has more or less been on the same page in applauding Obama's cabinet picks so far–"He's been pragmatic in choosing pragmatists," as the Washington Post editorial page cheered on November 28. There's been occasional criticism of Obama's choices as being too progressive, as when the L.A. Times (12/5/08) attacked the idea of Rep. Xavier Bercerra as U.S. trade representative, declaring that Obama "should break his promises and appoint a free-trader as trade representative." So it was refreshing to see Michael Hirsh's piece in Newsweek wondering why left-leaning Columbia economist Joseph Stiglitz hasn't been in the mix: But […]

Dec
01
2008

What We Learned About Larry Summers

Time magazine tells us about Obama's chief economic adviser: His controversial comments about women's aptitude for math and science were a reminder that he operates best when he is working behind the scenes. Oh, so that was the lesson. I had been under the misapprehension that the lesson had something to do with Larry Summers' sexism. Time also writes that of Obama's incoming economic team, Summers is the one to watch. He is expected to do for the economy what strong-minded and ambitious National Security Advisers like Henry Kissinger have done for foreign policy: plan it, set it and control […]

Nov
07
2008

Two Views on Larry Summers

The relentless speculation over who should be in Obama's cabinet continued in the Los Angeles Times, where readers were clued in to the debate over naming Larry Summers Treasury Secretary: Obama faces conflicting advice from his close advisers, from Capitol Hill and from important Democratic constituencies. Some argue that, with the economy gripped by a deepening crisis, he needs the country's best and brightest to help him deal with it, chief among them Summers. Others warn that Summers' sharp elbows and his penchant for controversy could make him a damaging distraction at a time when the nation and the new […]