Nonvoters Are People Too

USA Today novoter chart

When pundits talk about what ‘the public’ thinks in an election season, remember that they’re not really talking about the whole public.


PBS Goes Easy on Paul Ryan


Ryan wants to change his public image, and is relying on media coverage to help him do that. The NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff was unsurprisingly doing her part.


Shutdown: Media SHOULD Play the Blame Game

Lincoln Memorial shut down. (cc photo: Rich Renomeron)

Media like to dismiss the partisan “blame game,” but in cases like this placing blame is something that journalism ought to do.


Cutting Social Security on PBS–From Left to Right


On the PBS NewsHour (4/12/13), the left/right debating duo of Mark Shields and David Brooks took up the issue of Social Security and “chained CPI”–and found that they didn’t have a lot to debate on the virtues of Barack Obama’s benefits-cutting plan.


Looking Back at Iraq With…Michael Gordon?

Michael Gordon

Ten years ago, a front-page New York Times story helped mislead us into war with the idea that Iraq was trying to procure special aluminum tubes for its nuclear weapons program. Last night, one of the PBS NewsHour’s two expert journalists to look back on Iraq was the guy who co-authored that piece.


PBS Does ‘Both Sides’ on Bogus Romney Welfare Attack

Some campaign disputes can be tricky to sort out. Others are not. That’s why media coverage that takes the both-sides-have-a-point approach can be so disappointing, if not dangerous. Take Mitt Romney’s recent claim that the White House was “gutting” the work requirements in theĀ  1996 welfare “reform” law. As a Romney TV ad put it: “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.” That charge earned a “Pants on Fire” from PolitiFact (8/7/12), which pointed out that the policy change that is supposedly at issue […]


NewsHour’s Tax Cuts Series Off to a Bad Start

On Wednesday night’s broadcast of the PBS NewsHour (9/23/10), Gwen Ifill announced: “Now to the first of several conversations on whether or not to extend tax cuts that expire at the end of the year.” The first guest was Republican Glenn Hubbard, who Ifill told viewers “was the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, and he helped to design those cuts.” Not surprisingly, he is a big supporter of extending the tax cuts, and gave the usual laundry list of reasons why, and criticized Obama for creating uncertainty in the markets and so on. […]


PBS’s NewsHour Throws a Tea Party

NewsHour viewers last night (9/9/10) might have been surprised to see a long one-on-one conversation with far-right activist/lobbyist Dick Armey, promoting his new book, Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto. The interview gave Armey ample room to explain the Tea Party movement’s beliefs, with host Judy Woodruff offering no real challenge to any of Armey’s rhetoric–like when he claimed that Tea Party activists are “probably the kindest, gentlest, most gentle souls we ever saw. We had a million of them in town last September, and they left the town cleaner than they found it.” Armey is wildly exaggerating the […]


NewsHour’s Economics-Free Economics Reporting

Calling a PBS NewsHour budget plan segment by Judy Woodruff “a primer on how to conduct an interview relying almost solely on Republican talking points,” Brad Jacobson (Media Bloodhound, 2/27/09) says her “first question isn’t necessarily a Republican talking point, but it might as well be”: “$3.66 trillion, is that a number you can actually grasp?” Seriously, members of the mainstream media need to stop acting like they suddenly have the vapors over big government spending. The Republicans weren’t the only ones to preside over the most reckless spending in our government’s history over the last eight years, on a […]