Oct
20
2014

Pointless 2016 Election Journalism, 2014 Edition

wapost-romney

Trying to cover the 2016 presidential election based on a poll in 2014 is a waste of time.

Aug
15
2014

Has the Right Really Shifted on Police Militarization and Abuse?

Breitbart coverage of Ferguson

It would be wonderful if more Republicans–and, for that matter, more Democrats–were speaking out about police abuses and related issues. But treating one lawmaker's op-ed as a sign of a fundamental shift on the right seems a bit of an overreach.

Dec
02
2013

Obamacare as a 'Big Government' Failure

mtp-mitchell

Pundits' discussions of the Affordable Care Act rollout assumes that the law represents some kind of "activist government" intervention to disrupt the normally smooth workings of the private sector. But that is neither the intent nor the effect of the law.

Oct
03
2013

Shutdown: Media SHOULD Play the Blame Game

Lincoln Memorial shut down. (cc photo: Rich Renomeron)

Media like to dismiss the partisan "blame game," but in cases like this placing blame is something that journalism ought to do.

Aug
16
2013

What Do You Call Edward Snowden?

cbsen-snowden

CBS's Scott Pelley suggests that Edward Snowden admitted to being a "spy" for Russia. But he's not the only one using odd language to describe the NSA whistleblower.

Aug
14
2013

What's the Message of Clinton's Noncampaign for the Office She Might Run for in Three Years?

Dan Balz

Hillary Clinton hasn't announced that she's running for president in 2016, and launched a campaign yet. But the Washington Post is already complaining that her nonexistent campaign for an office she may or may not seek lacks a clear message. "Clinton’s gender likely would be a significant asset," writes chief correspondent Dan Balz (8/12/13), adding: "It, however, is not a message." One has to admire the first 44 presidents of the United States, each of whom somehow managed to achieve the office without the benefit of this asset. The next day (8/13/13), Post columnist Richard Cohen picked up on Balz's […]

Apr
23
2013

George W. Bush Is a Swell Guy, Just Ask His Friends

natl-journal-good-man

The opening of the George W. Bush library is generating coverage about the state of the Bush legacy. But if the journalists who were far too generous in their coverage of Bush's presidency are the same ones writing about how that presidency should be viewed now, he's in safe hands.

Apr
08
2013

Cutting Social Security and Medicare? That's the 'Middle'

Cokie Roberts

The new White House budget proposal is getting a lot of attention because it explicitly connects the Obama administration to an agenda that includes cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits. Some pundits see this as a way to appeal to the "middle." But does anyone– in the middle or anywhere else–really want to cut the safety net?

Nov
07
2012

Pundits: In Victory, Obama Must Accommodate His Opponents

Matt Bai (photo by Nicole Mays)

With the election over, you're seeing familiar corporate media advice about the need for Obama to move to the right and learn to compromise with Republicans. Some of this is based on a frankly nonsensical view of the polarization that accompanied his first term. Matt Bai of the New York Times writes (11/7/12): There are, of course, plenty of explanations for why Mr. Obama's election did not usher in a less contentious political moment. Republicans say he squandered his opportunity to remake the political climate by adopting a traditionally liberal agenda. They point to his first big initiative, the stimulus […]

Oct
01
2012

When Nonsense Is Your Reality, Reality Naturally Seems to Have a Slant

Dana Milbank (photo by Matthew Bradley)

Washington Post ombud Patrick Pexton (9/30/12) presents conservative opinion as a prima facie case for a left-wing slant in corporate news media: "Republicans think the news media are being too easy on Barack Obama…. Everyone sees more bias, and Republicans see it more than other groups." Offering this as evidence of a left media bias is, of course, highly dubious. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans say that humans aren't warming the planet. Sixty-three percent still maintain that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.  Fifty-eight percent of Republicans "believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 […]

Aug
14
2012

Romney Whistleblower Comes Forward (Not Really)

Washington Post columnist Dan Balz has a big scoop from an anonymous source in today's paper (8/14/12): The choice, like most vice presidential selections, also was a way for Romney to say something bigger about the kind of campaign he hopes to run. In that sense, advisers say, Ryan was "Mitt's pick, completely." "Stories talk about it being a bold choice," said one senior Romney adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk about the decision. "To me, it was a confident choice. He was very confident in himself, in Paul Ryan, in the campaign and in the […]

Jun
12
2012

A Gaffe Is a Gaffe When Reporters Say So

Campaign coverage often gets bogged down in trivia—inconsequential polling data, the latest "off message" comment by an associate, and so on. But then there are the "gaffes," when politicians say something that we're told means a lot more than it might seem. Barack Obama's 2008 comment about small-town voters clinging to their guns and religion was one. In 2000, Al Gore was a Media Gaffe Machine: Love Canal, internet inventing, etc. Most of them didn't check out, but that's not what matters. Gaffes are elevated when reporters think they reinforce something about a politician. In 2000, NPR's Cokie Roberts said […]

May
21
2012

Why It Matters That There's No Such Thing as Simpson-Bowles

Dan Balz, the Washington Post's chief correspondent (5/20/12), complains that President Barack Obama hasn't solved America's fiscal problems: Obama has drawn criticism for failing to offer more forceful leadership. He established the Simpson-Bowles commission but declined opportunities at key moments to push and prod for its consideration and enactment. There's an odd syntax here that reflects some slippery thinking. Grammatically, "its" in the second sentence seems like it would refer to the Simpson-Bowles commission, but that would be nonsensical. You're presumably supposed to think it means the commission's plan, but that's a trick–there was no plan passed by the commission […]