Media like to dismiss the partisan "blame game," but in cases like this placing blame is something that journalism ought to do.
"Democrats on one side, Republicans on the other" is the way conventional Beltway reporters seem to see the world–and it's reflected in their reporting on political events. On the front page of USA Today (6/7/13), Susan Page has a piece wondering if the unfolding scandals surrounding the White House and surveillance will threaten the president's "agenda." That's a strange concern for the moment, but we'll put that aside. The most unusual part of the piece is the very premise: That Obama's actions have verified Republican criticisms of his presidency. As Page puts it, the current story is especially problematic for […]
Since the consensus seems to be that Obama's inaugural address was actually a statement of a bold, progressive vision for his second term, it's not a surprise that some in the corporate media are upset. Obama's words were seen as particularly injurious to Republicans, who presumably already feel bad enough as it is.
The usual criticisms of the Iowa caucuses–that the votes of a small, demographically unrepresentative slice of America gobble up too much airtime–are basically correct. As David Sirota noted in Salon (1/3/12): The same journalism industry that pleads poverty to justify cutting big city newspapers' editorial staffs, gutting coverage of state legislatures and city councils, and eliminating every other critical topic not related to Washington's red-versus-blue fetish from news content–as writer Joe Romero recounts, this same industry has for months devoted a massive army to cover Iowa's small contest. Just one example of the absurdity: At least one of Rick Santorum's […]
The front page of USA Today (9/19/11) tells us that Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is taking "the heat," but not to worry–he says he can handle it. That's especially true with reporters like Susan Page on his side: He's not worried, he said, because only one issue really matters to Americans in this election. It's the one he plans to ride first against his Republican rivals and then against President Obama. Jobs. "I'll be asked about a hundred different issues a thousand different ways," he said in the interview Friday, one of only a few he has done since […]
At a press conference in 2009, Barack Obama said, "America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world toward peace and prosperity." He also proclaimed that America has core values that make it exceptional. Based on those comments, right-wing pundits and politicians reached a conclusion:Barack Obama does not believe in "American exceptionalism." And since they say this all the time, reporters feel obligated to cover it as if it were an actual, serious argument. Hence Susan Page's front-page article in USA Today (12/21/10): Over White House objections, they're accusing him of not embracing the concept of American exceptionalism, saying […]
A USA Today story by Susan Page (7/27/10), on the impact of the WikiLeaks revelations, reports that despite some erosion, "Most Americans continue to support the war in Afghanistan." To back up this assertion, Page cites Gallup poll findings (7/8-11/10) that 58 percent of Americans think it was "not a mistake" for the U.S. to have sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001. Clearly, though, it's possible to believe that U.S. troops should have been sent to Afghanistan in 2001 without thinking that they should still be there almost nine years later. Much more to the point was the July 11 […]