A New York Times piece seems to treat the poor and middle class as almost interchangeable. Thus Mitt Romney vowing to "end the scourge of poverty" is equated with Mitch McConnell calling for a focus on "the stagnant middle class."
Paul Ryan apparently has some big, bold ideas about how to fight poverty–mostly what the government is doing is all wrong. But why does the Washington Post fail to cite any critics of Ryan, and spend so much time quoting him and other Republicans?
Let's say you're best known for coming up with a federal budget blueprint that slashed tax rates for the wealthy and proposed big cuts to anti-poverty safety net programs, but now you want to be known as a guy who really cares about fighting poverty. Lucky for you, the Washington Post is here to help.
Paul Ryan's RNC convention speech kicked off a lot of discussion about how and when journalists should do factchecking. Some reporters noted that, for instance, the people you factcheck can push back; other pieces wondered if it was making any difference at all. There are plenty of factchecking operations, but there seems to be a feeling that the lying and deception is more significant now than it's ever been. But if you watched TV coverage of the Republican convention, you may not have seen much in the way of factchecking. More to the point, some of the discussions could get […]
On the subject of why politicians aren't worried about corporate media factcheckers, a New York Times article from last week (8/31/12) by Alessandra Stanley is worth a second look. Under the headline, "How MSNBC Became Fox's Liberal Evil Twin," Stanley wrote: "You can agree with everything that Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz say on MSNBC and still oppose their right to say it." Stanley's problem was that "all that attitude" on MSNBC "leaves fewer choices for viewers who like their election coverage with informed commentary without a twist of bias": All that arch sarcasm and partisan brio may rev up […]
"What if it turns out that when the press calls a lie a lie, nobody cares?" That's the question asked by Atlantic editor-in-chief James Bennet (8/28/12) after a raft of Pinocchios and flaming pants failed to sway the Romney campaign from its position that "we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by factcheckers." I think that's the wrong question, though. The real question is: Does the press have the courage to call a lie a lie–and stick by it? It's hard to be hopeful about that when you have one of the media's most prominent factcheckers, the Washington […]
Flipping open the new issue of Time (9/3/12), a piece by Michael Crowley begins: Paul Ryan may be America's most famous budget wonk. Oh good grief. Crowley's point is not just to praise Ryan's devotion to spreadsheets. No, this piece is about the influences that made Paul Ryan the wonk he is today: But he's more than a number cruncher. Ryan's budget math is drawn from the political and economic theories of his many intellectual idols. And you get what you'd expect: Ayn Rand, Jack Kemp, Friedrich Hayek. But it's the passage about Ryan and Catholicism that is especially bizarre. […]
Time magazine's Michael Crowley, from the new issue: In naming Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate on August 11, Romney chose someone as deep as Palin was shallow, a studious wonk known for his mastery of that most substantive of all issues: the federal budget. For Crowley, this is actually toning down the Ryan praise. Just last year, he co-wrote a piece for Time that went like this: Just 41 years old, with jet black hair and a touch of Eagle Scout to him, the House Budget Committee chairman unveiled an ambitious package of huge budget cuts designed to […]