Mar
01
2012

SoundBites

Extra! January 2012

Why the Supercommitee Failed So the Supercommittee brought together legislators who disagree completely both about how the world works and about the proper role of government. Why did anyone think this would work? Well, maybe the idea was that the parties would compromise out of fear that there would be a political price for seeming intransigent. But this could only happen if the news media were willing to point out who is really refusing to compromise. And they aren’t. If and when the Supercommittee fails, virtually all news reports will be he-said, she-saids, quoting Democrats who blame Republicans and vice […]

Feb
01
2012

SoundBites

February 2012

Why Can’t Ron Paul Look More Like Gingrich? So why, with his long-held views and an enthusiastic base of support, does [Ron] Paul get so little attention? It’s not only his anti-establishment message. Part of his acceptance issue is the way he presents himself. As much as he is a refreshing departure from the mold, he also comes across as a gadfly. Consider if Paul had the heftier, more serious bearing of a Romney or a Gingrich. Would he be so easy to dismiss? In the Darwinian world of public perception, it’s easy to discount what you hear from someone […]

Dec
01
2011

SoundBites

October 2011

Don’t Cry for Me, S&P 500 Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen (8/9/11) recalled a story about President Franklin D. Roosevelt crying when he was told about children in migrant worker camps who lacked Christmas toys. Cohen wondered, “Can anyone imagine Barack Obama doing anything similar?” The answer—at least my answer—is no. And this is quite amazing when you think about it. FDR was a Hudson River squire—down to his cigarette holder and cape. Nonetheless, he could connect to the less fortunate. Obama, in contrast, was raised in the great American muddle, not rich and not poor. Yet when the stock […]

Dec
01
2011

SoundBites

December 2011

TV’s Left Is Morgan Stanley, Not Occupy “We Democrats can’t criticize Republicans for catering to the Tea Party and not say to our Democratic Party, you got to look beyond Occupy and be willing to do what’s in the best interest of the country.” —Morgan Stanley managing director and former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., appearing as the leftmost pundit on Meet the Press (10/23/11) Retiring as Not Right Enough Conservative writer/commentator David Frum—who coined the phrase “axis of evil” as a Bush speechwriter—announced he would stop doing left/right debates with Robert Reich for the public radio show Marketplace (10/12/11). […]

Nov
01
2011

SoundBites

Headline Writing Made Simple “Diplomatic Efforts Unable to Derail Palestinians’ UN Gambit” —Washington Post headline (9/9/11) “U.S. Gambit Unable to Derail Palestinian Diplomatic Efforts” —Not a Washington Post headline, ever Documents & Disingenuousness The New York Times (9/3/11) reported that documents found by rebels in Libyan intelligence offices indicated that “the Americans sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite that country’s reputation for torture.” The Times repeated on September 6 that prisoners had been sent to Libya “despite the country’s reputation for torture.” Surely the paper is aware that the countries the CIA shipped prisoners […]

Sep
01
2011

SoundBites

September 2011

More Bombs, Less Debate NBC correspondent Richard Engel (Meet the Press, 6/19/11), calling for more bombing in Libya and less democracy in the U.S.: I just came from Libya before I came here, and the fact of the matter is the war in Libya right now is not very serious, that NATO is not doing a terribly good job. The rebels need a lot more help. The bombing campaign in Tripoli barely exists. Every once in a while there's a few bombs on mostly empty compounds, and people go about their lives more or less unaffected. It's not the kind […]

Aug
01
2011

Soundbites

August 2011

Austerity Stops at the Top Gannett will be laying off another 700 employees, about 2 percent of its workforce (Poynter.org, 6/21/11), after shedding 2,400 jobs last year. “The economic recovery is not happening as quickly or favorably as we had hoped and continues to impact our U.S. community media organizations,” Gannett U.S. Community Publishing division president Bob Dickey explained in a memo. That slow pace of recovery didn't stop Dickey from upping his total pay to $3.4 million in 2010, from $1.9 million in 2009. Nor did it prevent Gannett CEO Craig Dubow from doubling his 2009 salary, to $9.4 […]

Jul
01
2011

Soundbites

Bin Laden Raid, Revisited and Revised It didn’t take long for the White House account of Osama bin Laden’s killing (see p. 8) to be almost completely revised—under creative headlines like the New York Times’ (5/6/11) “Raid Account, Hastily Told, Proves Fluid.” The Times included this quote from a military official: “There has never been any intent to deceive or dramatize.... Everything we put out we really believed to be true at the time”—followed by a note that the official asked “that he not be named because of ground rules imposed by the Department of Defense.” We never lied or […]