Not too long ago there was a massive scandal clogging up the front pages of the papers and the cable news airwaves: The IRS was either denying or delaying tax-exempt status to right-leaning "Tea Party" groups. But now things are starting to look a little different.
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 […]
CNN reporter Erin Burnett's comment (10/29/12) that it was "kind of neat" to see New York City break its flooding record as the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy flooded Battery Park was bizarre, to say the very least: I just want to give everyone an update of where we are right now in terms of the record books. This is one for the record books. In terms of the storm surge here in Manhattan, Lower Manhattan where I am right now, almost a three-foot record, three feet. We're at 12.75 feet, as you can see, it's above my ankles now […]
There seems to be a popular line emerging in the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy that says his comments are especially harmful because they distract attention from the real issues. Kathleen Parker (Washington Post, 3/4/12): Inadvertently, Limbaugh also helped advance the argument from the left that Republicans are waging a war against women…. He has given his "feminazis" justification for their claims that conservatives hate women. Peggy Noonan (ABC's This Week, 3/4/12): But what he said was also destructive. It confused the issue. It played into this trope that the Republicans have a war on women. No, they don't, but he […]
The big news in the health reform debate is that the White House seems to be willing to give up on the "public option," a government insurance program that would compete with private insurers. Everyone sees this as a big story, but there's something revealing about the way the Washington Post's Ceci Conollyled her piece: Racing to regain control of the health-care debate, two top administration officials signaled Sunday that the White House may be willing to jettison a controversial government-run insurance plan favored by liberals. In Beltway mediaspeak, "regain control" must mean doing something that right-wing Democrats and Republicans […]
Quoting John Dewey's warning about "the proper role of the press in a democracy"–"a class of experts is inevitably so removed from common interests as to become a class with private interests and private knowledge"–Eric Alterman finds it (Nation, 5/6/09) "difficult to imagine a more telling–and disturbing–manifestation of Dewey's prediction than the current torture debate in Washington": Even after the disgraceful performance of so many armchair warriors during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, who would have dared predict the willingness, nay, eagerness, of respected journalists and pundits to argue in favor of purposeful ignorance? Sadly, many of them […]
The Daily Howler's Bob Somerby has a look (4/27/09) at how Newsweek bigshot Fareed Zakaria "pandered and fawned in dragging out yesterday's panel" on his CNN show Zakaria: As I was thinking about the smartest people I could gather to talk about the first stage of Barack ObamaÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s presidency, I thought of that wonderful quotation from Oscar Wilde: "Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it." So today, I'll be talking with a panel of geniuses. Each of them has books and accomplishments too numerous to mention. I'll talk about a few. The others will […]