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.
Last night, MSNBC's Chris Matthews hosted a discussion on the Obama administration's recently disclosed "white paper" justifying its policy of using drones to strike at U.S. citizens. Matthews ultimately deciding that the policy was defensible–on the grounds that the CIA director Leon Panetta goes to church.
Fox News CEO Roger Ailes recently renewed his contract, and he gave an interview to explain why. As one might expect, given the we-only-look-biased-because-the-other-guys-are-so-biased philosophy at Fox, he's motivated by what he sees as the outrageously partisan media everywhere else (MediaBistro, 11/16/12): Ailes was also sparked by what he experienced at a Washington journalists' dinner. "When I saw the president say, 'I know you all voted for me,' and a thousand people stood up and cheered and applauded and then when the applause died down, he said, 'Oh probably except you guys at the Fox table.' I thought, 'Am I […]
Some days it's not easy to make it through a Tom Friedman column. Take today (11/14/12), for instance. I got all the way to the second sentence: Virtually every American president since Dwight Eisenhower has had a Middle Eastern country that brought him grief. In case you're wondering, he really means every president: For George W. Bush, it was Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, why did those countries give the man so much trouble? For anyone trying to make it all the way through the column, I recommend letting Matt Taibbi walk you through the loopy Friedmanesque metaphors: Iraq is a […]
In corporate media there is always a race to be first to report a breaking story seconds before your competitors. It means nothing to the rest of the world–we're talking a matter of seconds, much of the time–but it's a point of pride in the news business to be first. Being right is more important, by several miles, and on that score a few prominent outlets failed spectacularly yesterday at the Supreme Court, telling viewers that the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act had been struck down. The prime offenders on cable were Fox News (photo by @jasonkeath) and […]
On Wednesday (5/2/12), MSNBC host Chris Matthews played a long clip from the Daily Show, where Jon Stewart mocked Republicans who are complaining about Barack Obama's celebration of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Stewart naturally recalls George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" photo op stunt from 2003. Stewart points out that if Republicans are angry about Obama "spiking the football," Bush was spiking the ball before the game started. So the clip played, and then we cut to Matthews, chuckling away. Of course Stewart's point is right on–anyone who listens to this whining from the right is bound to recall […]
Under the headline "Nations Hope Veil Lifts From Libya's History of Terrorism," John Burns writes in today's New York Times (8/30/11): Television footage of the only man convicted in the Lockerbie bombing lying in bed, purportedly comatose with advanced prostate cancer at his Tripoli home, has provided a focal point for a question asked with new urgency in places far from Libya: With Col. Muammar el-Gadhafi's government in ruins, what reckoning is likely for the terrorist bombings that were once a signature of the former Libyan leader's war with the Western world? So terrorism was Gadhafi's "signature," and many "nations" […]
In case you were wondering whether Irene sparked any discussions of climate change, here's a moment from the panel discussion on ABC's This Week (8/30/11): RON BROWNSTEIN (National Journal): Do we want to get into a global warming and a hurricanes discussion? DONNA BRAZILE (Democratic Strategist): No. BROWNSTEIN: I mean, I don't know if we want to open that door. Let that serve as a reminder to read Neil deMause's piece from the last issue of Extra! This was a laugh line, so I guess take it for what it's worth. On the other hand, Cokie Roberts seemed to be […]
Fox host Bill O'Reilly laughs off any calls for increasing government spending to help create jobs. Last week he derided Paul Krugman for demanding more stimulus spending. And this guy teaches economics at Princeton University? Unbelievable. People like Bill O'Reilly don't pay any mind to the fancy pants Nobel Prize committee that gave Krugman one of their liberal awards. Why should he? He knows how the economy really works, as he explained last night (8/8/11): Raising income taxes is not the way out of this. In 2001 and again in 2003, President Bush cut individual tax rates. And what happened? […]
Glenn Beck's temporary replacement in the 5 p.m. slot on Fox News, Eric Bolling, has started out with a bang. On the July 13 edition of his new show the Five, the host declared: "America was certainly safe between 2000 and 2008. I don't remember any attacks on American soil during that period of time." After Bolling's error, erasing 9/11 and several other deadly terrorism attacks from the Bush record, was pointed out by outlets including Media Matters and Huffington Post, the host returned to the air Thursday to issue a correction that sounded more like a retaliation against those […]
Frank Bruni has been named the new Sunday op-ed columnist at the New York Times. Bruni has been writing restaurant reviews for the past few years, but came to a lot of people's attention as the reporter covering the 2000 campaign of George W. Bush. Bruni went on to write a book about that experience, and one of the lessons in the book was that what Bruni actually thought about Bush's campaign rhetoric and debate performances wasn't really what he was reporting at the time. I wrote something about this when the book came out, though I can't recall whether […]
The argument that the finding and killing of Osama bin Laden shows that George W. Bush's torture policies were justified got another rehearsal in Newsweek fromYale professorStephen Carter (5/5/11): In the end, we were able to track bin Laden because he communicated only through two couriers believed to be brothers. And what was the source of this vital clue? The intelligence apparently came from detainees imprisoned in secret facilities overseas and subjected to what has been euphemistically called "enhanced" interrogation…. So the information from the detainees was crucial, and we face an uncomfortable irony, both political and ethical. The finest […]