Dec
03
2009

New Frontiers in Journalism

Washington Times, the paper of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, has announced it will be going to free distribution and laying off at least 40 percent of its staff. Which positions won't make the cut? Well, one that's been mentioned is that of editor. That's right; former editor John Solomon resigned last month after less than a year at the Times, and the company's new president and publisher, Jonathan Slevin, told the Washington Post that "there is no search for a Solomon successor and that his job may not be filled under a reorganization." Who, exactly, will be in […]

Dec
02
2009

Enter a Parallel World at WashingtonPost.com

Sometimes reading the corporate media is like receiving dispatches from an alternate universe–like the one Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan (12/02/09) lives in, where Obama "bucked overwhelming conventional wisdom" to send more troops to Afghanistan, in the face of a "stunningly large number of American thinkers, strategists and pundits who have been perfectly prepared to lose wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan." The version of Obama who was elected U.S. president on Kagan's Earth-2 realized that he "might be applauded for losing in the salons of Washington and New York, the American public would not look on defeat so kindly," […]

Nov
23
2009

David Broder's (Selective) Deficit Worries

Washington Post columnist David Broder rounds up some "non-partisan" budget experts– one of whom, oddly enough, was John McCain's Social Security adviser during his 2000 campaign — to agree with him that the Democrats' healthcare bills are too expensive. He closes with this: The challenge to Congress — and to Obama — remains the same: Make the promised savings real, and don't pass along unfunded programs to our children and grandchildren. This advice would be easier to take from someone who didn't just write that Obama should escalate the Afghanistan war because of the"urgent necessity is to make a decision […]

Nov
18
2009

Rule of Law–Who Cares?

One of the odder outbreaks of outrage from conservative pundits is the horror expressed at the idea that people accused of being connected to the September 11 attacks would actually be put on trial. Here's Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson (11/18/09) on Attorney General Eric Holder's "destructive" decision to prosecute Khalid Mohammed and other 9/11 suspects in an actual court: There is one serious argument for this course: that a civilian court will provide greater legitimacy for the imposition of the death penalty than a military tribunal. But the guilt of these terrorists is not in question. And it is […]

Nov
18
2009

Post Polling, Afghanistan (Again)

The Washington Post reports its latest polling on the Afghanistan war, and once again have managed to put together a baffling question that seems intended to muddy up the debate over a troop surge. The lead and headline("Poll Finds Guarded Optimism on Obama's Afghanistan Plan") stress the idea that the public still seems to have faith in the White House. But the strangest part comes when the paper asked people about sending in more troops. As the Post's write-up explains: Asked to choose between a larger influx of troops to fight Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and train the Afghan military, […]

Nov
16
2009

Media to Obama: Less Talk, More War

From ABC World News, 11/11/09: CHARLIE GIBSON: We understand he's raising new questions about a number of plans that are in front of him. What new questions are there to be asked after all this time? MARTHA RADDATZ: Well, you would think he'd be through with the questions, Charlie. Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times (11/15/09): Barack Obama is in danger of giving deliberation a bad name. David Broder, Washington Post (11/16/09– headline: "Enough Afghan Debate") It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the […]

Nov
06
2009

The Election Lesson: Hoover Was Right!

The Washington Post reported (11/5/09) that some Democrats are "questioning whether they should emphasize job creation over some of the more ambitious items on the president's agenda." A couple paragraphs later, reporters Michael Shear and Paul Kane elaborate: Moderate and conservative Democrats took a clear signal from Tuesday's voting, warning that the results prove that independent voters are wary of Obama's far-reaching proposals and mounting spending, as well as the growing federal debt. The implication that "job creation" is somehow at odds with "mounting spending" and "ambitious" or "far-reaching" government proposals is a another example of the neo-Hooverism that corporate […]

Oct
26
2009

The WP's Public Option Polling, Continued….

In the Washington Post (10/25/09), reporter Dan Balz has a piece about the "resurrection" of the public option in the Senate negotiations over healthcare reform. But like the Post's trumpeting of its recent poll on the issue, Balz's rationale doesn't make much sense. As he sees it, Senate Democrats "reevaluated the politics of the public option" in part because support was on the rise: Then last week, new polls, one from the Washington Post and ABC News and the other from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, found clear majority support (57 percent) for a public option. The Post/ABC News […]

Oct
22
2009

WP Poll: Public Evenly Split on Afghan Escalation?

"U.S. Deeply Split on Troop Increase for Afghan War" is the headline on the Washington Post's October 21 report about its latest polling on Afghanistan. The paper reports that "Americans are evenly and deeply divided" over sending 40,000 extra troops: "47 percent of those polled favor the buildup, while 49 percent oppose it." If you've followed polling on this question, these results are striking–most recent surveys show the public is deeply troubled by the war and opposed to sending more troops. The most recent CNN survey (10/16-18/09), to take one example, found 39 percent support for sending more troops, and […]

Oct
22
2009

Breaking ACORN News!!!

Living up to the ridiculous notion that every right-wing slam on ACORN demands coverage in the "liberal media," the Washington Post ("Duo Release Another Video of Their Meeting With ACORN Worker," 10/22/09) runs a storyon the latest from the right-wing activists whose undercover videos shot at local ACORN offices got all the attention in the first place. So what's the news? Well, apparently the duo appeared at the National Press Club to unveil a video of themselves at a Philadelphia ACORN office, where nothing much happened. The video they presented did not include any of the audio from ACORN workers–they […]

Oct
13
2009

Is Engel Too Opinionated–or Does He Have the Wrong Opinion?

When NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Richard Engel recently returned from Afghanistan, he told MSNBC's Morning Joe, "I honestly think it's probably time to start leaving the country." Engel added, "I really don't see how this is going to end in anything but tears." Engel's comments caused Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz (10/12/09) to raise an eyebrow at a reporter stating an opinion: "That sounds awfully opinionated for a working reporter," wrote Kurtz. But we had to wonder if what really attracted Kurtz's scrutiny was Engel's stating of an opinion, or the opinion itself? After all, for years FAIR […]

Oct
07
2009

Working the Refs: The Right, the Media and ACORN

If you want a lesson in how right-wing pressure on corporate media works, look no further than the ACORN story. Right-wing talkshow hosts have targeted the community organizing group for years, primarily on charges of vote fraud. Then two conservative activists produced some embarrassing videos of ACORN workers at some local offices giving tax advice advice to a couple passing themselves off as a pimp and a prostitute. From there, the story turned to right-wing gloating–and complaints about the media being too slow (and of course too liberal) to pick up on the right's anti-ACORN crusade. And some in the […]

Sep
22
2009

Debate, Washington Post Style

We've talked about these "Topic A" debates in the Washington Post before, and today's installment is a doozy. The topic on the table is Obama's media strategy. And, as before, the important people are on the political right, Here are the right-wingers: Karl Rove, Dan Schnur(communications director of John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign), Ed Rogers (White House staffer to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush), Dana Perino (White House press secretary for George W. Bush), Linda Chavez(chair of the Center for Equal Opportunity, former member of the Reagan administration). They're matched by two Democrats: pollster DouglasSchoen and Clintonadviser Lanny Davis […]