Jul
05
2011

Everyone Could Have a Mark Halperin Moment

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza's curious take on the Mark Halperin affair: The truth of the Halperin matter is that all reporters (or others) who go on television frequently are forever in a 'there but for the grace of God go I' situation…. We know of what we speak, having found ourselves tongue-tied or worse on any number of occasions while staring into a camera. And in an ill-fated 2009 video venture known as 'Mouthpiece Theater,' The Fix had to live down an inappropriate reference to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. For those who might be unaware, he's referring […]

Jul
01
2011

WaPo Discovers UK Anti-Austerity Protests

The Washington Post reports today on a one day walkout by public sector workers: The strikes are the first major uprising over the Conservative-led government's ambitious plans to slash $128 billion in spending over the next four years. I don't know how one defines "major uprising," but on March 26 hundreds of thousands hit the streets to protest the government's austerity plans. The Post didn't find them terribly newsworthy when they happened, running a brief item alongside other international news.

Jun
22
2011

WaPo Defines Obama's Afghan War Mission

The headline in today's Post, previewing Obama's speech tonight: Obama's Challenge: Leaving, but Not Too Quickly Funny how it's not the other way around–leaving too slowly would seem to be a larger political problem, given the state of public opinion. The Post reports: President Obama will face a stiff political challenge Wednesday in presenting his plan for a gradual end to the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. His prime-time address must remind a skeptical electorate and a concerned Congress that the country's longest war remains worth fighting–and funding–for several more years. Why is it that Obama must "remind" the public […]

Jun
20
2011

WaPo's Very Balanced Coverage of Netroots Nation

The Washington Post had a report on Sunday (6/19/11) from the left-liberal Netroots Nation conference. Actually, it's a report from two conferences: The Netroots event and a smaller right-wing affair which schedules its conference to coincide with the larger, liberal get-together–for a reason: RightOnline's conference is smaller (about 1,200 people to Netroots' 2,500) and more focused on strategy than policy. RightOnline always makes sure to be in the same city, so the get-together is guaranteed more media attention. Mission accomplished.

Mar
11
2010

Evidence That Media Need to Use Different Unemployment Measures

Actual Washington Post headline today (3/11/10): Rise in Washington Area Unemployment Seen as Good Sign for Economy's Recovery Reporter V. Dion Hayes tries to explain: Rising unemployment as a positive sign may sound counterintuitive, but economists explain it this way: The increase suggests that long-term unemployed people in the D.C. area who had given up looking for work have restarted their job hunt, perhaps because they see evidence that the region's economy is improving and that employers are beginning to hire again. On the other hand, the declining national rate indicates that discouraged workers elsewhere have remained out of the […]

Mar
09
2010

Washington Post and Afghan War Critics

Sometimes the words journalists choose are revealing. Take the lead of a story in the Washington Post today (3/9/10) about congressional debate on the Afghanistan War: Liberals in the House, who have spent much of the past year complaining that other congressional Democrats and the White House are insufficiently progressive, will get a chance this week to vent about one of their biggest concerns: the war in Afghanistan. To say that lawmakers are "venting" is a short way of saying that they're wastingtime with pointless complaining. And what are they whining about, anyway?Nothing special–just whether or not the war complies […]

Mar
02
2010

Only Rahm Emanuel Can Save You Now

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has always been a controversial figure–famously profane and short-tempered, and politically speaking a center-right Clinton Democrat. As of late, though, there's been a strange effort–particularly in the Washington Post–to present Emanuel as the confidant whose political advice Barack Obama has too often ignored and who offers a clear path to political rehabilitation. This only makes sense in a Beltway media that views Obama as too far to the left, and in need of Emanuel's pragmatic centrism to pull him back to the middle. This campaign was kicked off by a February 21 Dana […]

Mar
01
2010

Death Panels–Again?

In a February 28 pieceheadlined, "Obama Ready to Move Forward on Healthcare Reform," the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut closed on a rather odd note: Republicans have expressed growing confidence heading into the midterm elections, with healthcare as a potential campaign tool. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele took the argument a step further, saying after the Thursday summit that it had been "a death panel for Obama-care." "If that wasn't enough, when you come out of this thing and you're looking at the reconciliation fight that may loom ahead of us, it certainly will have represented a death panel […]

Feb
16
2010

Washington Post's Tortured Euphemisms

This Washington Post headline (2/13/10) caught my eye: 2008 Habeas Ruling May Pose Snag as U.S. Weighs Indefinite Guantanamo Detentions You have to read the piece somewhat closely to understand what they're taking about. Theterrorism case against one Guantanamo detainee was "ironclad"until afederal judge deemed it "too weak"–because some of thestatements against the defendant had been "coerced." Thishas happened repeatedly–judges "'have gutted allegations and questioned the reliability of statements by the prisoners during interrogations and by the informants." This is bad news, we're told; "the government is likely to suffer further losses" in court. You have to read almost to […]

Feb
16
2010

Dana Milbank, Snow and Climate Change

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank thinks it's pretty silly for Republicans and climate change deniers to say that the recent snowstorms mean that climate change is phony. BUT…. don't think for a second that Milbank's going to let "greens" off the hook that easy. No way. As he put it on Sunday (2/14/10): "There's some rough justice in the conservatives' cheap shots. In Washington's blizzards, the greens were hoist by their own petard." How so? Climate activists "have argued by anecdote to make their case," especially Al Gore, who has warned of a whole menuof negative consequences from climate change. […]

Feb
03
2010

Obama's Class Conflict

The Washington Post's Eli Saslow (2/3/10) on Obama: He is a rare president who comes from the middle class, yet people still perceive him as disconnected from it. It's true that very few presidents come from the middle class–except for Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Warren Harding and Woodrow Wilson, it's hard to think of a single example from the last hundred years.

Dec
17
2009

Post Mishandles Post Poll

Yesterday's Washington Post (12/16/09) reports that the public isn't sold on healthcare reform. As the headline puts it: Public Cooling to Healthcare Reform as Debate Drags On, Poll Finds The story by Dan Balz and Jon Cohen explains that "there is minimal public enthusiasm for the kind of comprehensive changes in healthcare now under consideration." Now, how "comprehensive" the reforms under consideration are is certainly debatable, but these conclusions seem to be drawn from questions about costs and Barack Obama's handling of the issue. But the Post did ask other, more interesting questions–and then buried the results. Deep into the […]

Dec
07
2009

Dana Milbank and the Church of Obama

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank (12/6/09) thinks there's something wrong with left-wing critics of Barack Obama.As his lead put it: Some parishioners in the Church of Obama discovered last week that their spiritual leader is a false prophet. Milbank startswith Michael Moore, who wrote an open letter urging Obama not to escalate the Afghanistan war.This makes no sense to Milbank, since Obama never said he'd withdraw troops.Well, yes. I suspect many of Obama's critics–maybeeven Michael Moore–are aware of that.Moore also supports single-payer healthcare, and wishes Obama would too. Does that mean that continuing that advocacy with Obama in the White […]