Dec
17
2014

Dana Milbank and the Bias of Centrism

Jim DeMint and Elizabeth Warren (cc photos: Gage Skidmore, New America Foundation)

To argue that Elizabeth Warren is the left equivalent of Jim DeMint, one must exhibit no interest in the substance of politics.

Nov
18
2014

No, Tar Sands Oil Isn't Inevitable

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Pundits say opposing Keystone is foolish because they're going to get that oil out of the ground no matter what. But is that true?

Nov
03
2014

Young People Going Republican? Not So Fast

alexpkeaton

A new poll out of Harvard's Institute of Politics is getting a lot of attention, probably because it appears to send a surprising message: Young voters are moving towards the GOP. But some caution is in order.

Sep
10
2014

And Now, a Word From Henry Kissinger…

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Henry Kissinger is making the rounds again–mostly reminding us that elite media love to fawn over Henry Kissinger.

Feb
05
2014

Falsely Presenting Obamacare as a Job-Killer

Congressional Budget Office logo

When the Congressional Budget Office released a new report about the Affordable Care Act, some in the media botched the story by portraying the news as a triumph for Republican spin.

Feb
13
2013

Milbank Looks Forward to 'Bleak Times' Ahead

Why do we need "serious spending cuts"? Milbank assumes the answer is so obvious that it need not be explained–everyone knows the more cuts, the better. All the serious people, anyway.

Nov
05
2012

I Predict Dana Milbank Will Continue to Personify False Balance

After establishing that Republican operative Karl Rove is a terrible political prognosticator, Dana Milbank (Washington Post, 11/2/12) does the false-balance thing and attacks polling blogger Nate Silver: Rove is an easy target because his motive–conveying a false sense of momentum for Republicans–is so transparent. But he has plenty of company among prognosticators who confidently predict that which they cannot possibly know. There's Nate Silver, a statistician-blogger at the New York Times, who predicts with scientific precision that President Obama will win 303 electoral votes and beat Romney by 2 percentage points in the popular vote. He gives Obama an 81 […]

Oct
24
2012

Did Twitter Kill Media Diversity?

Remember how corporate media's campaign coverage used to offer wide-ranging, diverse perspectives? Me neither. But Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank apparently thinks that's the way the world used to work, until Twitter came along and the press corps turned into one giant exercise in groupthink. He writes today (10/24/12) that campaign reporters have one eye on the actual debates, and one eye on social media: This was to have been the campaign when Twitter and other social media allowed new voices to enter the debate, delivering a more diverse array of opinion and helping candidates reach beyond the media filter. […]

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
08
2012

Harry Reid, the New Joe McCarthy

Senator Harry Reid started a whole lot of trouble on the campaign trail when he told some Huffington Post reporters that he'd heard that Mitt Romney paid no taxes. As in zero. For an entire decade. Now there are reasons to be skeptical of Reid's account. As Dana Milbank pointed out, Reid's record does not inspire confidence. He says he got this scoop in a phone call with a Bain Capital investor. There is no other documentation or information to substantiate the allegation. Of course, Romney could settle the issue by releasing his tax returns– which is presumably why Reid […]

Apr
12
2012

Buffett Rule Bores, Annoys Washington Post Reporters

The "Buffett rule"–as in Warren Buffett–suggests that super-rich should pay a tax rate comparable to middle-income earners. In Buffett's case, this grew out of his observation that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Seems straightforward enough–and the public thinks so. But the Washington Post seemed to feel otherwise on April 12. A news story by David Fahrenthold kicked off with this observation: The great moral debate of the 2012 campaign is turning out to be as inspiring as drunks arguing over a bar tab. Really? The "debate" he's talking about pits those who believe in raising tax […]

Mar
27
2012

Progressive Budget vs. Paul Ryan, Round 2

Last year Republican Rep. Paul Ryan presented a budget plan that was, according to one analysis, full of "dubious assertions, questionable assumptions and fishy figures." But Ryan's brand of budget austerity makes the media swoon–hence we saw coverage (FAIR Media Advisory, 4/12/11) of Ryan's "piercing blue eyes" that dubbed him "a PowerPoint fanatic with an almost unsettling fluency in the fine print of massive budget documents." Ryan's budget was never going to be adopted, but its release was widely covered across the corporate media. He was given credit for presenting a plan to reduce government deficits, even though his plan […]

Aug
03
2011

Capitol Hill Rituals, Strange and Not-So-Strange

New York Times reporter Dan Barry has an "outsider visiting the Capitol" piece (8/3/11) about the strange things one encounters in the legislative sausage factory. In some rooms you are required to wear a necktie; others have no such rules. The place is confusing in other ways, too: "To reach the third level from the first, walk down, not up." Barry watches the behavior of reporters, scrambling around to get a quote from this or that lawmaker. Not that they're interested in all lawmakers equally. After John Boehner spoke at one lectern, for instance: A few minutes later, representatives of […]