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