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 […]

Jul
05
2011

Everyone Could Have a Mark Halperin Moment

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza's curious take on the Mark Halperin affair: The truth of the Halperin matter is that all reporters (or others) who go on television frequently are forever in a 'there but for the grace of God go I' situation…. We know of what we speak, having found ourselves tongue-tied or worse on any number of occasions while staring into a camera. And in an ill-fated 2009 video venture known as 'Mouthpiece Theater,' The Fix had to live down an inappropriate reference to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. For those who might be unaware, he's referring […]

May
02
2011

What's Wrong With the White House Correspondents' Dinner

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank deserves some credit for writing this about all of the awful things about the White House Correspondents' Dinner: The fun begins, appropriately enough, at the offices of the American Gas Association, where White House reporters are feted by the lobbyists of the Quinn Gillespie firm. More lobbyist-sponsored entertainment comes from the Motion Picture Association. Along the way, journalists wind up serving as pimps: We recruit Hollywood stars to entertain the politicians, and we recruit powerful political figures to entertain the stars. Corporate bosses bring in advertisers to gawk at the display, and journalists lucky enough […]

Apr
14
2011

Dana Milbank Red-Baits the People's Budget

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank seems to like to mock progressives almost as much as he likes to go after Glenn Beck. So it's no surprise that he turned out to "cover" the unveiling of a budget plan by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (4/13/11). Milbank seems to think that little explanation is needed–these crazy ideas are just obviously crazy: Among the highlights: a $4 trillion tax increase over 10 years. An increase in the top tax rate to 49 percent. A $2.3 trillion defense spending cut–and an increase in domestic spending. Oh, and they would revive the "public option" to […]

Mar
21
2011

To Milbank, Ending NPR and Afghan War Are Both 'Trivial Pursuits'

Washington Post Dana Milbank (3/19/11) skewers the Republicans for their "emergency meeting" to defund NPR: This particular emergency involved the lower end of the FM radio dial. Republicans, in an urgent budget-cutting maneuver, were voting to cut off funding for National Public Radio. All $5 million of it–or one ten-thousandth of 1 percent of the federal budget. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office ran the numbers and calculated the impact this emergency measure would have on government spending: "No effect." One of the rules of corporate media balanceisthat if you criticize Republicans, you have to findan example of similarbuffoonery on the […]

Feb
18
2011

Chris Christie's Not Telling the Truth–Ugly or Otherwise

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie is the object of intense devotion among some on the right (Glenn Beck in particular). No surprise, then, that he'd get a lot of attention for going to Washington and delivering a stern lecture about how to fix the deficit. And no surprise that he'd talk about Social Security. It has nothing to do with the deficit, but that's another matter. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was on hand to cheer on Christie's message (2/16/11). Christie pokes fun at his weight, which apparently makes his truth-telling even more appealing: But his physique also works […]

Jan
21
2011

Fox News Is Outraged by Nazi Analogies–and Other Big Lies

It is bizarre to see Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly denying that pundits from her network compare people to Nazis–contrasting this reticence to Rep. Steve Cohen (D.-Tenn.), who said calling healthcare reform a "government takeover of healthcare" was "a big lie. Just like Goebbels." In fact, such comparisons are common currency on Fox News and in much of right-wing media, as FAIR has documented (Action Alert, 1/16/04; FAIR Blog, 4/2/09, 8/9/09, 4/28/10; Extra!, 3/10). Fox's Glenn Beck, a leader in this trend, compared the auto bailout to "the early days of Adolf Hitler" (4/1/09), said that Barack Obama's plans to […]

Jan
21
2011

Concern for Human Rights Starts at the Water's Edge

As Sam Husseini noted, one of the things we'll miss about print newspapers is ironic juxtaposition of stories. The front page of Yesterday's New York Times (1/20/11) provided a classic example: There was a story about Chinese President Hu Jintao visiting the White House, headlined (in the late print edition) "Obama Raises Human Rights, Pressing China." And right next to it was an article about how the Obama administration was acknowledging that Guantanamo would stay open indefinitely, with some prisoners to be held forever without trial, while others would be tried by military tribunal instead of a civilian court because […]

Dec
20
2010

Thank Goodness Dana Milbank Is Not Insufferable

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank (12/19/10) derides WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for being "insufferable"–apparently because he emerged from prison talking about prison conditions. Milbank sarcastically noted, "As if nine days in an English jail fighting extradition to Sweden on sex charges made him a regular Nelson Mandela." You can decide for yourself whether that's insufferable. (Assange said, "I had time to reflect on the conditions of those people around the world also in solitary confinement, also on remand, in conditions that are more difficult than those faced by me. Those people also need your attention and support." Milbank ended this […]

Dec
13
2010

Obama Pulls a Clinton on the Liberal Base

One of the more annoying corporate media storylines since the midterms dwells on whether or not Barack Obama will move to the "center" in order to have better luck in the 2012 elections. The conventional wisdom is that Bill Clinton did this after terrible losses in the 1994 midterms, and his "triangulation" proved once and for all that successful Democrats move to the right. There are several reasons this is nonsense–Clinton was more or less the original DLC "New Democrat," so he was consciously and conspicuously to the right of the party base all along. The press wanted to nudge […]

Nov
10
2010

Fox News: The No. 1 Name in Murder Fantasies

Bill O'Reilly's recent "joke" about decapitating Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was only the latest example of a demented Fox News culture that permits on-air personalities to fantasize about assassination and other forms of violence against those deemed enemies of the station, its personalities or their worldview. During the cable channel's 2008 election coverage, in what she later called an attempt at humor, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta linked Osama bin Laden to Barack Obama as people who both should be assassinated: And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. […]

Aug
12
2010

Milbank on Robert Gibbs and the 'Professional Left'

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs generated a huge controversy by slamming the "professional left" for being too critical of the Obama administration. People who compare Obama to Bush"ought to be drug tested," according to Gibbs. Responses to the Gibbs remarks can be found almost anywhere you look–Glenn Greenwald's post provides perhaps the most thorough reaction. In the corporate media, moving to the right and bashing the Democratic base is constantly offered up as a smart move for Democratic politicians. So it was not a surprise when Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank offered a defense of Gibbs' comments (8/12/10): Gibbs […]