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 […]


When the Campaign Moves Back to the ‘Center’

The presidential campaign is breaking down along familiar ideological lines, according to New York Times reporter John Harwood (1/12/12): American voters loathe both major symbols of the forces squeezing their pocketbooks and life savings. President Obama will seek re-election vowing to rein in one of them: Wall Street. Mitt Romney will focus on the other: Washington. There are some complications (Republicans attacking Mitt Romney’s “vulture” capitalism for starters), but Harwood assures readers that soon enough the candidates will be back to the sensible middle. But what’s the center? Romney’s right-wing rhetoric about Obama’s fondness for Big Government and European socialism […]


Comparing Fox and CNN Through a Funhouse Mirror

Once you’ve given up trying to defend the idea that Fox News‘ “Fair and Balanced” slogan can be understood as anything other than irony, the fallback position is generally that everyone else is just as biased. Or as the headline over John Harwood’s piece in the New York Times (11/2/09) puts it, “If Fox Is Partisan, It Is Not Alone.” To back up this assertion, Harwood–who’s the chief Washington correspondent for CNBC, and host of the New York Times Special Edition on MSNBC–relies on surveys by Scarborough Research that asked about the partisan identification of the audiences of cable channels. […]


Curious Polling and Obama’s Worrisome Popularity

Two newspapers have flagged some concerns about Barack Obama’s popularity, citing a new poll to raise questions about the public’s enthusiasm for White House policies so far. Both accounts, though, seem to try to hard to stretch the rather awkward poll results to match their arguments. In the Los Angeles Times (5/3/09), Peter Nicholas noted that while the public still supports Obama, “the activist government Obama has unleashed is increasingly worrisome to voters, polls show.” He explained: An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 47 percent of those surveyed believe “government should do more,” compared with 46 percent who believe […]