Mar
21
2014

Hawks Want Obama to Be More Like Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Pundits like Charles Krauthammer have fond memories of the Afghan/Soviet war, and want Obama to be more like Jimmy Carter so that the Ukraine crisis can have a similarly happy result.

Mar
14
2014

Will Twisted History of Georgian War Facilitate a Repetition?

Russian peacekeeping barracks in Ossetia, 2008 (cc photo: Dmitrij Steshin/Wikimedia)

In reporting and commentary on Ukraine, the 2008 Russo-Georgian War provides a handy anti-Russian talking point…if you leave out half the story.

Nov
07
2012

Has Nate Silver Ruined Campaign Journalism?

silver

The results are in: Nate Silver won the election. The New York Times' polling/stats wonk was projecting an Obama victory, and it looks like he basically nailed it. Of course, this outcome thrills Silver's many fans, and has shown pretty clearly that the people the corporate media rely on to make election predictions aren't really good at the thing they're supposed to be good at doing. This is revealing, and should raise the usual questions about why some of these people continue to appear on television as election experts. But since it's very hard to lose your Pundit License, it's […]

Mar
27
2012

Afghan War Just Needs a Better Sales Pitch

The big New York Times story on the Afghan War today (3/27/12) focuses on public opinion in the United States, which is now dramatically anti-war: 69 percent think we shouldn't be there. An interesting point argument is raised later in the piece, when two sources make the argument that the war wouldn't be so unpopular if Barack Obama would just do a better job of selling it: Peter Feaver of Duke University, who has long studied public opinion about war and worked in the administration of President George W. Bush, said that in his view there would be more support […]

Nov
18
2009

Rule of Law–Who Cares?

One of the odder outbreaks of outrage from conservative pundits is the horror expressed at the idea that people accused of being connected to the September 11 attacks would actually be put on trial. Here's Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson (11/18/09) on Attorney General Eric Holder's "destructive" decision to prosecute Khalid Mohammed and other 9/11 suspects in an actual court: There is one serious argument for this course: that a civilian court will provide greater legitimacy for the imposition of the death penalty than a military tribunal. But the guilt of these terrorists is not in question. And it is […]

Nov
14
2008

Fearing Fairness–When You Don't Know What It Is

After giving a dubious account of the causes of the Democrats' 1994 electoral disaster, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson (11/14/08) provides an inaccurate description of the Fairness Doctrine, which he calls a federal regulation (overturned by the Reagan administration in 1987) requiring broadcast outlets to give equal time to opposing political viewpoints. Under this doctrine, three hours of Rush Limbaugh on a radio station would have to be balanced by three hours of his liberal equivalent. This may sound fair and balanced. But it is a classic case where the "unintended consequences" are so obvious that those consequences must be […]