Sep
22
2009

The Neverending 2008 Presidential Campaign

Remember back in 2007/2008 when Democratic candidate Barack Obama was being called an elitist? Well, if you miss that kind of media coverage, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank has got you covered (9/18/09) here, writing up Michelle Obama's visitto aD.C. farmers market: The promotion of organic and locally grown food, though an admirable cause, is a risky one for the Obamas, because there's a fine line between promoting healthful eating and sounding like a snob. The president, when he was a candidate in 2007, got in trouble in Iowa when he asked a crowd, "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately […]

Sep
20
2009

More 'News' from WaPo's 'Exciting Alternate Universe'

Under the headline "Washington Post Publishes More Information About Exciting Alternate Universe," A Tiny Revolution blogger Jonathan Schwarz (9/13/09) lets us know that, while "lots of banks had to get a bailout from the federal government," do "you know who didn't? The ultra-smart guys at BlackRock investment management, that's who"–at least according to the September 13 Post, which featured this passage: BlackRock emerged as one of their principal advisers as the agencies bailed out major companies and tried to put a price on their toxic assets. BlackRock is also managing tens of billions of dollars worth of AIG assets for […]

Sep
17
2009

Ignatius Proposes a 'New Deal for the CIA' That's Two Centuries Old

David Ignatius starts off his Washington Post column today ("A New Deal for the CIA," 9/17/09) with a story about Jeannie de Clarens, a 90-year-old Frenchwoman who infiltrated the Nazi army, discovered information about German rockets that "saved London," was captured by the Gestapo and survived a year in a concentration camp without betraying her secrets. De Clarens sounds like a real hero with a great story. But the moral Ignatius draws from it is not so great: "When we read about waterboarding and other techniques that shock the conscience, it's easy to lose sight of what intelligence agents like […]

Sep
17
2009

Baucus Plan: No One Likes It, So It Must Be Good

Conservative Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana unveiled his long-awaited health reform proposal yesterday, the results of weeks of negotiations among the Senate Finance Committee's so-called "Gang of Six"–three Democrats from the right-wing of their party and three moderate-to-conservative Republicans. The bill (unsurprisingly) does not include a public option andcouldend up leavingmiddle-income Americans paying too much for health insurance (Think Progress, 9/15/09). At the same time, no Republican–including those in the Baucus' Gang–has indicated that they intend to vote for this bill. But some of the early media coverage seems to find it encouraging that the Baucus bill pleases almost […]

Sep
15
2009

Tea Party News Proves MSM Still 'Wired for the GOP'

In citing how Talking Points Memo creator Josh Marshall "has talked many times about the ways in which the Washington establishment is 'wired for the GOP,'" Steve Benen (Political Animal, 9/13/09) notes that "the Washington Post offers a helpful example today"–as posted on Media Matters: "Behold the media's glaring double standard. Today, the Post puts the 'tens of thousands' of Obama-hating tea bagger protesters on A1; makes it the lead story as a matter of fact." Compare and contrast. And just so there's no doubt in people's mind, the blanket coverage the mini-mobs are lapping up (i.e., the mobs are […]

Sep
01
2009

The Washington Post's Afghanistan Debate

The Washington Post had another "Topic A" feature onAugust 31, headlined "Is the War in Afghanistan Worth Fighting?" Acrucial debate, to be sure;the Post found one person (Andrew Bacevich) to argue that it is not, which is probably a position close to the majority view of the American public. That position is "balanced" by four contributors whoargue the war is worth fighting, in different ways or for different reasons. This imbalance echoes the Post'sprevious presentationof the Afghanistan debate, showing once again that the paper seems to believe that a public that increasingly sees the war as a lost cause needs […]

Aug
24
2009

WaPo Pundit: Mass Transit Good for Others, Not U.S.

"Robert Samuelson Doesn't Like Trains" is what Dean Baker (Beat the Press, 8/24/09) takes to be "the unifying theme from his column today, since his arguments against high-speed rail do not make a lot of sense." In his August 24 broadside against what he dubs Barack Obama's "Rail Boondoggle," Samuelson trots out the tired argument against "almost $35 billion in subsidies into Amtrak" that "the federal government has poured" in the last four decades–with the usual corporate pundit omissions, like the fact that, as long ago as 1994 it was determined that "hidden subsidies for drivers amount to well over […]

Aug
24
2009

On Liberal Media's Single-Payer Failings

Longtime friend of FAIR Sam Husseini (Husseini.org, 8/21/09) has a new blog post responding to Robert Kuttner's recent Washington Post column, in which the American Prospect magazine editor "asks 'Where are the liberal protesters?'": It seems like a good question. Until one considers the source of the complaint–and that rather helps answer the question. Maybe the "liberal protests" are where the American Prospect's cover story of the "Baucus 13" is.Or the where the American Prospect's lengthy piece on Linda Allision's exchange with Obama is. Since clicking on the above links yields absolutely zero results in the American Prospect coverage, Husseini […]

Aug
19
2009

How 'Death Panels' Became a 'Justifiable Political Claim'

Columnist Rick Perlstein has a new analysis of "Birthers, Town Hall Hecklers and the Return of Right-Wing Rage" in the Washington Post (8/16/09). In it, he tells why "liberals are right to be vigilant about manufactured outrage," and particularly about how the mainstream media can too easily become that outrage's entry into the political debate. … Conservatives have become adept at playing the media for suckers, getting inside the heads of editors and reporters, haunting them with the thought that maybe they are out-of-touch cosmopolitans and that their duty as tribunes of the people's voices means they should treat Obama's […]

Aug
17
2009

The Way They See the World

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 […]

Aug
17
2009

The Washington Post's Non-Debate on Afghanistan

The escalationof the Afghanistan war is the "Topic A"discussion on the Washington Post op-ed page on Sunday (it's a regular feature where they ask a panel of Important People to weigh in onan issue of the day). The title was "How Many Troops for Afghanistan?"–one can already spot the problem with that–but the panel they assembled left a lot to be desired.On the one hand, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (a strong critic of escalation) was given space to make his argument.But hispresenced was 'balanced' by four others, three of whom are definitely pro-escalation(they quibble over the details, perhaps) and onepollsterwho addressed […]

Aug
16
2009

'Why Women Need to Be at the Freaking Table'

Women In Media & News has reposted Veronica Arreola's (8/15/09) elucidation of exactly "why women need to be at the freaking table, in the newsroom and holding the editor's red pen." To her, "it's just as simple as women see things differently. Not better, not worse, just differently": The latest example is the WaPo "Mouthpiece Theater" fiasco that ended with WaPo pulling the plug. Two men thought that calling the secretary of State a "bitch" was funny. Not only was it not funny, and not because the joke flopped, but it's old and tired. Seriously, guys, can't you come up […]

Aug
10
2009

At WaPo, 'Others Tell Readers What "Populists" Think'

Economist Dean Baker (Beat the Press, 8/9/09) sees the Washington Post as simply "keeping with its strict editorial policy of only letting others tell readers what 'populists' think," when publishing its August 9 "front-page article on setting executive compensation at banks receiving bailout money"–one which "never presented the views of an actual populist." Instead, Baker writes "readers got to see the comment of Robert Profusek, a lawyer at Jones Day who is identified as having advised major banks on compensation matters," and Linda Rappaport, "head of the executive compensation practice at the firm Shearman & Sterling"–both of whom unsurprisingly argue […]