NYT and the Racism Bog

When a Republican presidential candidate goes around talking about Barack Obama as the “food stamp president,” eventually reporters are going to have to write about racism. But how they talk about the issue in instructive. In today’s New York Times (1/18/12), Jim Rutenberg has a piece headlined “Risks for GOP in Attacks With Racial Themes,” where we learn this about Newt Gingrich’s food stamp rhetoric: Mr. Gingrich was clearly making the case that he is the candidate most able to take the fight to Mr. Obama in the fall, but he was also laying bare risks for his party when […]


Iowans Frustrate Reporters With Their Multiple Opinions

The usual criticisms of the Iowa caucuses–that the votes of a small, demographically unrepresentative slice of America gobble up too much airtime–are basically correct. As David Sirota noted in Salon (1/3/12): The same journalism industry that pleads poverty to justify cutting big city newspapers’ editorial staffs, gutting coverage of state legislatures and city councils, and eliminating every other critical topic not related to Washington’s red-versus-blue fetish from news content–as writer Joe Romero recounts, this same industry has for months devoted a massive army to cover Iowa’s small contest. Just one example of the absurdity: At least one of Rick Santorum‘s […]


Fox News Goes to the Middle (and Other Fantasies)

Is Fox News Channel going soft? In an election year? Some media figures seem to think the hard-right channel is going to the “middle,” but this seems to be a figment of the centrist imagination. New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman has a short piece trying to make this case. His first bit of evidence is that Fox granted backstage access at its recent Republican debate to a New York Times reporter–as Sherman put it, “Fox‘s decision to allowTimes scribe Jim Rutenberg into the building to confront the candidates in person.” That sounds rather aggressive, and Sherman sees this as some […]


NYT Lets Fox Go Anonymous to Trash-Talk Obama

You may have heard that Barack Obama shared some thoughts about Fox News Channel in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. When asked about the channel, Obama pointed out that media outlets with a political perspective have been relatively common throughout U.S. history, but that he believed Fox‘s perspective is “ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class.” The New York Times‘ Jim Rutenberg had a piece (10/2/10) on Fox‘s political activism this year–particularly News Corp‘s million-dollar donations to the Republican Governors’ Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But Fox‘s response to […]


Who Decides ‘Who Won’?

The New York Times‘ Jim Rutenberg had a follow-up piece on Friday’s debate headlined “The Next Day, a New Debate on Who Won.” The story described the McCain and Obama camps’ attempts at “influencing the public perception of who won an encounter that produced no clear winner or loser.” Except–is it really true that the debate produced no clear winner? The initial polls pointed to Obama as a winner; CNN‘s poll released Friday night found that 51 percent of respondents thought Obama had done a better job, vs. 38 percent for McCain. CBS‘s Friday night poll of undecided voters had […]