Nov
20
2013

Paul Ryan, Poverty Fighter?

Paul Ryan (cc photo: Gage Skidmore)

Let's say you're best known for coming up with a federal budget blueprint that slashed tax rates for the wealthy and proposed big cuts to anti-poverty safety net programs, but now you want to be known as a guy who really cares about fighting poverty. Lucky for you, the Washington Post is here to help.

Sep
18
2013

Inform the Public? Not My Job, Says Chuck Todd

NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd's declaration that it's not his job to inform viewers when politicians spread misinformation was noted by several progressive blogs today, including Talking Points Memo. Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe today (9/18/13), Todd responded to Ed Rendell's claim that Obamacare opponents are full of misinformation about the program by explaining that this was because Republicans¬† "have successfully messaged against it." But wasn't journalism's job to expose misinformation? No, Todd insisted; if the public was misinformed about the Affordable Care Act, it was the president's fault for not pushing back: What I always love is people […]

Feb
27
2013

CNN's Recipe for Italy: Austerity–No Matter What

Newsweek's Barbie Nadeau

CNN.com had an odd piece of analysis of the Italian election results, arguing that austerity "is necessary by any calculation to actually start moving Italy out of the recession." That's not the calculation of Paul Krugman, who for what its worth is a Nobel Prize-winning economist.

Jan
29
2013

David Gregory: Obama Should Trick Republicans by Being More Like Them

davidgregory

When reporters give strategic advice, they tend to reveal what they consider preferable policy goals. A discussion of taxes and spending on Meet the Press revealed a lot about host David Gregory's worldview.

Nov
14
2012

Fiscal Cliff Not a Cliff? Tell That to USA Today

usat-cliff-fp

Some commentators and journalists have pointed out the metaphor for the impending tax increases and spending cuts in 2013–the "fiscal cliff"–is highly misleading, and probably intentionally so. There is no way to reverse course when you fall off a cliff; you are plummeting towards the ground, making a terrible mess upon impact. Thus the brakes must be applied before the end of the year. In reality, this isn't true; Congress and the White House can actually go past the "cliff" deadline, and strike a deal early next year, without the supposedly dire consequences. The numbers thrown around in the press […]

Aug
21
2012

Niall Ferguson Can't Be Factchecked!

Niall Ferguson's Newsweek cover story "Hit the Road, Barack" has attracted lots of the wrong kind of attention. As Dean Baker put it: It's hard to believe that progressive bloggers didn't get together to pay Newsweek to run Niall Ferguson's piece on Obama. The thing is so shot full of easily identifiable errors no serious publication would ever allow it into print. But printed it was–a lengthy cover-story argument against re-electing Obama, based on an array of charts and economic facts that the Harvard professor believes bolster his case. The first–and arguably most important–error was flagged in a blog post […]

Aug
20
2012

What if Paul Ryan Isn't Really a Wonk? Krugman vs. Campaign Reporters

If you know anything of substance about Paul Ryan, it's that the Republican vice presidential pick knows his numbers. A Washington Post profile today by Michael Leahy (8/20/12) tells us: He got his start on Capitol Hill as a 19-year-old intern working in the mailroom of Sen. Bob Kasten (R-Wis.). That led in time to positions on congressional committees and habits he hasn't broken since, including a staffer's zeal for voracious research, for charts and PowerPoint presentations, and a facility for budget numbers that he recites with a savant's glee. As if that weren't clear enough, we're told later that […]

Jul
16
2012

Paul Krugman Reads the New York Times

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman writes today (New York Times, 7/16/12) on media's failure to factcheck campaign claims: Perhaps in a better world we could count on the news media to sort through the conflicting claims. In this world, however, most voters get their news from short snippets on TV, which almost never contain substantive policy analysis. The print media do offer analysis pieces–but these pieces, out of a desire to seem "balanced," all too often simply repeat the he-said-she-said of political speeches. Trust me: you will see very few news analyses saying that Mr. Romney proposes huge tax cuts for the rich, […]

Mar
23
2012

Misinformed on Health Costs by Fox, Rush–and WaPo

Newspaper columnists often seem to get to write what they want. So it's interesting when two of them are writing about the same thing on the same day–and arriving at the opposite conclusion. In the Washington Post (3/23/12) , conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote this about the Affordable Care Act's costs, as tallied by the Congressional Budget Office: Obamacare was carefully constructed to manipulate the standard 10-year cost projections of the CBO. Because benefits would not fully kick in for four years, President Obama could trumpet 10-year gross costs of less than $1 trillion–$938 billion to be exact. But now […]

Feb
24
2012

Krugman: Actually, Romney's Insincerity Is a Bad Thing

There's this notion in the elite press that Mitt Romney's flip flops are a good thing–we've written about it here and here. In the latter post, I pointed to Nicholas Kristof's take: I'd much rather have a cynical chameleon than a far-right ideologue who doesn't require contortions to appeal to Republican primary voters, who says things that Republican candidates have all been saying and, God forbid, actually means it. This has never made much sense to me. It's based on the hunch that the "real" Romney–you know, the Massachusetts Moderate–would be the guy in the Oval Office and not the […]

Feb
14
2012

ABC and the 'Family Budget' Fallacy

Last year New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (7/8/11) wrote a sharp critique of those who argue that the federal government's budget should be compared to a family. He called it one of the "right's favorite economic fallacies," pointing out: No, the government shouldn't budget the way families do; on the contrary, trying to balance the budget in times of economic distress is a recipe for deepening the slump. He expanded upon it again this year (1/1/12), calling the government-as-family trick "a really bad analogy," and explained how governments don't pay off debts the way a family does–"all they need […]

Jan
12
2012

NYT to Readers: Can You Handle the Truth?

New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane has a new column wondering if the readers of the Paper of Record want to know if the politicians the paper covers are telling the truth. Seriously. It's right here. He writes: I'm looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge "facts" that are asserted by newsmakers they write about. He even has a pretty good example: on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches "apologizing for America," a phrase to which Paul Krugman objected in a December 23 column arguing […]

Jan
03
2012

WaPo and Keystone False Balance

Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel has a column in the Washington Post today (1/3/12) outlining the three important election issues to watch–and one of them is about how the press covers the process: Third, the media's obsession with false equivalence: How the election is covered will almost certainly have a measurable impact on its outcome. The New York Times' Paul Krugman describes what he's witnessing as "post-truth politics," in which right-leaning candidates can feel free to say whatever they want without being held accountable by the press. There may be instances in which a candidate is called out for saying […]