Strange Questions, Strange Journalism

Steve Benen of Political Animal points out a couple of strange questions posed by corporate journalists–one to each of last year’s major presidential candidates. In this post, Benen quotes an unnamed New York Times reporter (apparently either Sheryl Gay Stolberg or Steven Lee Meyers) basically red-baiting Barack Obama: “The first six weeks have given people a glimpse of your spending priorities. Are you a socialist as some people have suggested?” The same reporter, or maybe a different one–I guess they were speaking ex cathedra–later pressed Obama: “If you’re not a socialist, are you a liberal?”

In a later post, Benen ponders Fox News‘ Chris Wallace asking John McCain, “You ever feel like saying ‘I told you so’?” (McCain declined to do so, though he said, “I’m sure that would be a pleasant feeling.”) As Benen notes, it’s not clear what McCain told us, or what in the first six weeks of the Obama administration would cause us to reevaluate it. But as he says, the implication is clear: “Looking back at the presidential campaign, McCain was right about…something.”

Fox sometimes points to Wallace to show that they’re not out of the mainstream of corporate media. The scary thing is that they might have a point.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.