Sep
04
2012

Ryan's Lies… I Mean, His 'Overreaches'

Paul Ryan's RNC convention speech kicked off a lot of discussion about how and when journalists should do factchecking. Some reporters noted that, for instance, the people you factcheck can push back; other pieces wondered if it was making any difference at all. There are plenty of factchecking operations, but there seems to be a feeling that the lying and deception is more significant now than it's ever been. But if you watched TV coverage of the Republican convention, you may not have seen much in the way of factchecking. More to the point, some of the discussions could get […]

May
21
2012

Why It Matters That There's No Such Thing as Simpson-Bowles

Dan Balz, the Washington Post's chief correspondent (5/20/12), complains that President Barack Obama hasn't solved America's fiscal problems: Obama has drawn criticism for failing to offer more forceful leadership. He established the Simpson-Bowles commission but declined opportunities at key moments to push and prod for its consideration and enactment. There's an odd syntax here that reflects some slippery thinking. Grammatically, "its" in the second sentence seems like it would refer to the Simpson-Bowles commission, but that would be nonsensical. You're presumably supposed to think it means the commission's plan, but that's a trick–there was no plan passed by the commission […]

Apr
12
2012

Buffett Rule Bores, Annoys Washington Post Reporters

The "Buffett rule"–as in Warren Buffett–suggests that super-rich should pay a tax rate comparable to middle-income earners. In Buffett's case, this grew out of his observation that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Seems straightforward enough–and the public thinks so. But the Washington Post seemed to feel otherwise on April 12. A news story by David Fahrenthold kicked off with this observation: The great moral debate of the 2012 campaign is turning out to be as inspiring as drunks arguing over a bar tab. Really? The "debate" he's talking about pits those who believe in raising tax […]