Anti-Obama Media Bias? Not Quite

Liberal writers are zeroing in on a new study from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism that found Barack Obama has been subjected to far more “negative” coverage than any of the Republican presidential candidates. The graphic accompanying the study is dramatic: Slam dunk, right? One of Eric Boehlert’s blog items at Media Matters is headlined “So Much for the Liberal Media.” In another post he acknowledges that there have been criticisms of the Pew methodology in the past, but the real issue here is how right-wing critics will react to the numbers. Steve Benen at Washington Monthly makes a […]


GOP: Sauce for the Goose Is Terrible for the Gander

We’ve noted the corporate media’s double standard on Nazi analogies: When conservatives are compared to the Third Reich, however obscurely, it’s an outrageous slur, but when leaders of the right charge progressives with Hitler-like tendencies, it’s unremarkable political rhetoric. Political Animal‘s Steve Benen (12/8/09) rounds up some similar examples of criticisms that are outrageous when applied by the left to the right, but no big deal when they go the other way–starting with the manufactured controversy over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s likening Republican foot-dragging over healthcare reform to conservatives’ lack of urgency over women’s suffrage and ending slavery: If […]


Tea Party News Proves MSM Still ‘Wired for the GOP’

In citing how Talking Points Memo creator Josh Marshall “has talked many times about the ways in which the Washington establishment is ‘wired for the GOP,’” Steve Benen (Political Animal, 9/13/09) notes that “the Washington Post offers a helpful example today”–as posted on Media Matters: “Behold the media’s glaring double standard. Today, the Post puts the ‘tens of thousands’ of Obama-hating tea bagger protesters on A1; makes it the lead story as a matter of fact.” Compare and contrast. And just so there’s no doubt in people’s mind, the blanket coverage the mini-mobs are lapping up (i.e., the mobs are […]


Shallow Press Longs for Shallow President

WashingtonMonthly.com blogger Steve Benen (Political Animal, 8/12/09) has words for corporate pundits lambasting Barack Obama’s “Attention to Detail” as “going “into the weeds”: A few weeks ago, MSNBC‘s First Read had an item questioning whether President Obama “knows too much” about healthcare policy. The piece complained that the president is willing to offer Americans details about reform…. The Wall Street Journal‘s Jonathan Weisman raised a similar concern today, arguing that Obama cares too much about policy details…. This, apparently, is criticism, not praise. The president who inherited a devastating economic crisis is interested in U6 numbers–a measure that includes the […]


AP Adds $500 Billion to Healthcare Costs

Washington Monthly‘s Political Animal blogger Steve Benen (7/16/09) has observed that on July 15, “the Associated Press reported that the House Democratic healthcare plan cost ‘$1.5 trillion,’” and “by the afternoon, the AP reporting didn’t attribute the price tag to anyone; it just stated the figure as fact.” Even though “the day before the AP blasted the $1.5 trillion figure to the world, the Congressional Budget Office pointed to a roughly $1 trillion cost over 10 years,” Benen notes how “the AP not only went with the much higher figure, it made no reference to the CBO score.” Considering this, […]


On the Real Effects of Cable’s ‘Deranged Demagogues’

Political Animal blogger Steve Benen (6/11/09) has a look at the remarkable occurrence of Fox News‘ Shep Smith “reminding the viewing audience, shortly after the shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, of the DHS report that warned of potentially violent radicals” and “talking about the emails he’s seen from Fox News viewers” he calls “amped up and so angry for reasons that are absolutely wrong, ridiculous, preposterous”: Smith, with good reason, seemed genuinely concerned about the severity of the right-wing rage. Just as important, he seemed to realize that these increasingly agitated conservatives are incensed, not because of justified […]


Rush Limbaugh Comes Right Out and Says It

Political Animal‘s Steve Benen (5/12/09) notes a recent Rush Limbaugh broadcast (5/11/09) that makes the racist subtext of the right’s critique of Barack Obama virtually explicit: The [economic] deterioration reflects lower tax revenues and higher costs for bank failures, unemployment benefits and food stamps. But in the Oval Office of the White House none of this is a problem. This is the objective. The objective is unemployment. The objective is more food stamp benefits. The objective is more unemployment benefits. The objective is an expanding welfare state. And the objective is to take the nation’s wealth and return to it […]


MSNBC’s ‘Train Has Left the Station’–and Left Truth Behind

Political Animal blogger Steve Benen (4/8/09) asks if maybe it’s “Already Too Late for the Truth” in cable news coverage of U.S. military spending, considering that directly “after Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled his recommendations for restructuring military spending–and boosting the Pentagon budget by $21 billion (4 percent)–the response was immediate: The Obama administration is trying to cut defense in a time of war. It wasn’t true. It didn’t matter.” Quoting a former defense secretary telling MSNBC viewers a “clearly false” tale of “deep cuts in military spending,” Benen notes that anchor Contessa Brewer had asked him “to address the […]


The Mysterious ‘Special Risks’ of the Obama Presidency

A Washington Post piece this weekend by Scott Wilson (3/14/09) centered around this “gotcha”: In his inaugural address, President Obama proclaimed “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.” It hasn’t taken long for the recriminations to return–or for the Obama administration to begin talking about the unwelcome “inheritance” of its predecessor. Over the past month, Obama has reminded the public at every turn that he is facing problems “inherited” from the Bush administration, using increasingly bracing language to describe the challenges his administration is […]