Sep
01
2010

Soundbites

How Not to Report on the Estate Tax Under current law, after a one-year suspension, the federal estate tax rate will return to its pre-2001 level of 55 percent, with the first $1 million exempt. Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D.-Ark.) and Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.) have proposed a change that would lower the rate to 35 percent and raise the exemption to $5 million. This would save millionaires $440 billion in its first decade (Center for Budget & Policy Priorities, 4/10/09), and add the same amount to the federal deficit. How did Reuters (7/14/10) report on this massive transfer of wealth to […]

Aug
01
2010

SoundBites

Newsweek Blames the ‘Left’ for Bush-Era Disasters Jon Meacham’s editor’s note in the June 7 Newsweek, looking back on the failures of the last decade, made a fervently centrist point: “The history of these years fails to fit neatly into the ideological categories of left or right, for both public and private enterprises have managed to miss the mark in hours of crisis. Government is not the root of all evil; neither are corporations.” His examples: From the financial sector to the Roman Catholic Church, it has been a bad couple of years for—to borrow a phrase from a BP […]

Jun
01
2010

SoundBites

Tea Parties Can’t Fail Describing the anti-tax Tea Party rallies on April 15, Washington Post writers Amy Gardner and Michael Ruane (4/16/10) wrote, “The showing, while smaller than the crowds that gathered in Washington on September 12, made clear that the ire and energy that have defined the tea party movement since it became a force last summer have not abated.” Funny, you would think that smaller crowds would be a sign that the “ire and energy” of the Tea Party movement have abated. Isn’t that what “abated” means? Stupid, Racist = Republican? Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly (O’Reilly Factor, 4/5/10) […]

May
01
2010

SoundBites

CNN Scrapes the Bottom of the Barrel John King promised that his new CNN show, replacing the failed Lou Dobbs program, would focus on news, not opinion; he told Politico (11/12/09) that he was averse to guests “on news shows who start the conversation with a bias.” So who does CNN hire to do regular political commentary on King’s show? Right-wing blogger Erick Erickson, who described Supreme Justice David Souter upon his retirement as a “goat-fucking child molester” (FAIR Action Alert, 3/16/10). Erickson has also asserted that “the full gay rights agenda” involves child molestation, that Barack Obama won the […]

Apr
01
2010

SoundBites

Better to Mislead Than to Take a Side In the third paragraph of a report on the stimulus program in the New York Times (2/18/10), readers were told, “There is little dispute among economists that the measure has kept the jobless rate from being even higher than it is.” Clear enough. But since reporting must be “balanced,” the Times recited Republican talking points—essentially, that the stimulus couldn’t have succeeded because unemployment is still high—and then suggested that such critics have a point: “Economists say that Mr. Obama and the Republicans are both, in a sense, correct.” The economist the Times […]

Feb
01
2010

SoundBites

Nostalgia for Reaganesque Lies Time columnist Joe Klein (12/3/09) was not altogether impressed by Obama’s decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan (an “iffy proposition,” as Klein put it). But Klein’s main gripe was that Obama should have justified the war differently: “Once you have made the decision to go, or to redouble your efforts, you must lead the charge—passionately and, yes, with a touch of anger.” Then he described the better way: “Ronald Reagan would have done it differently. He would have told a story. It might not have been a true story, but it would have had […]

Feb
01
2010

SoundBites

Newspeak 2010 “The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.” —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (1/21/10), granting corporations the power to spend untold billions to do our thinking for us ‘Back to Basics’ Here’s a cable news discussion of the Massachusetts Senate race (noted by Political Animal, 1/19/10): Ad exec-turned-pundit Donny Deutsch described Scott Brown, the winning Republican, as a “traditional-looking middle-aged white male” and suggested that voters might be “going back to basics” after electing an African-American president and “we’ve had the female candidates and whatnot.” Deutsch said Brown “looks like the traditional view of a candidate,” […]

Jan
01
2010

SoundBites

Public’s Longstanding Opposition to Roads and Bridges Matt Bai wrote of the Obama administration in the New York Times (9/9/10), “Little was achieved by way of investing in 21st-century infrastructure, largely because the public never seemed open to the idea of huge new spending.” Really? When Bloomberg (12/10/09) polled on this last year, its write-up began: “Americans want their government to create jobs through spending on public works, investments in alternative energy or skills training for the jobless.... Two-thirds of Americans back boosting spending on infrastructure. Six of 10 also support more spending on alternative energy to stimulate job growth.” […]