Media ‘Grading [GOP] on a Curve’

Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall (1/28/09) is bemoaning how “Republicans have been getting a lot of air time and minimal press criticism for a series of arguments about the stimulus that are in most cases transparently ridiculous”:

For instance, I heard several House Republicans yesterday making the straight up argument that the renovation of the Capitol Mall wouldn’t create any jobs or stimulate the economy. Well, obviously any major building project creates jobs. Nothing could be more straightforward. Whether it’s the best long-term use of the money, in the sense of whether the building project will have spin-off effects creating greater productivity and growth over time, is a decent question. And looking at what’s in the bill I find myself wishing that more of the more was being spent in a more concentrated fashion–largely on infrastructure projects. But every major building project creates jobs….

And yet for all of this, most reporters seem to take these nonsensical criticisms completely on face value, grading on a curve, as it were, not giving these folks a hard time because they’re well-liked, much as we might with a dumb jock in the physics class who gets a free ride because no one expects anything different from him.

Marshall’s final exhibit is a “headline piece from today in the Politico making the argument that simply doing nothing, a la the Hoover administration in the early ’30s, is likely the best plan.”