Posts Tagged ‘media’

The Party of No Ideas

October 27, 2008

The real reason the National Review types are upset, of course, is that the media is reporting on Biden’s comment, Rev. Wright, lipstick on pigs, etc., and nobody gives a shit.

Times are too serious, and Republican policy (to the extent that any such thing exists) and talking points so discredited, that the outrage and umbrage assault can’t make a dent in public opinion anymore.


The Only Thing We Have to Say Is… Bias Itself

October 21, 2008

The ever-entertaining WSJ op-ed page notes Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s support for a stimulus program not too dissimilar from what the Democrats have proposed.

The conclusion: “Perhaps Mr. Bernanke’s blunderbuss political intrusion will win him more Democrat friends, and maybe even Mr. Obama’s goodwill. To the rest of the world, he has harmed the Fed and made himself less credible.”

There is no intellectual justification for anything the WSJ supports.  So when someone argues against their views, all they can do is scream “bias!”

Who Do YOU Trust?

October 17, 2008

As awful as the Washington Post editorial page is, I don’t want to lose my elitist cred by siding with Joe on this one.

Despite their agreement on Social Security, Joe the Plumber and the Washington Post find themselves on opposite sides this campaign.

Despite their agreement on Social Security, Joe the Plumber and the Washington Post find themselves on opposite sides this campaign.

Study: Media Focus Steadily on Trivialities

August 5, 2008

Stop the presses, this is a scoop:

Fully 78% of campaign stories from January 1 through May 4, 2008 examined by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism focused on political tactics, strategy or the state of the horserace, as opposed to policy, background or personal issues. Policy topics made up 7% of the stories, personal matters, 7%, and public record, 2%.

It occurs to me that media coverage of John McCain is rather like the treatment of Keanu Reeves’ character in the 2000 football movie The ReplacementsIn that film, “Reeves has ‘heart,’ a detail conveyed by having other characters speak of him as a great guy every five minutes.”

We constantly hear that McCain is a great guy with integrity, but there never seems to be any supporting evidence from the past 3 decades.  And God forbid we ever hear a word about what he intends to do as president.

Bombs, Bombs, Bombs, Bombs from Iran

May 5, 2008

Oh, good, an anonymously sourced article by Michael Gordon relating alarmist government claims that evil foreigners are nefariously coming to get us. What could possibly go wrong?

A grown-up wrote this more balanced article on a related story for the LA Times:

Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s spokesman backed away Sunday from Iraqi officials’ accusations of Iranian interference, saying that a committee had been formed to determine whether there is merit to U.S. charges that its eastern neighbor is arming and training Shiite Muslim militants here.

But hours later, spokesman Ali Dabbagh told journalists that his comments at a news conference had been misinterpreted. In a telephone call with Reuters news agency, he said proof existed and the committee’s job was to compile the evidence to submit to Iran.

UPDATEGlenn Greenwald says more or less the same thing as me, but with a lot more words.  And evidence and context and the like.

Bush Derangement Syndrome Breaks Out Among Reaganites

April 8, 2008

Did anyone notice Bruce Fein’s op-ed in the Washington Times today?  It’s as stark an indictment of the Bush administration’s approach to the law as anything I’ve seen in the mainstream media.  It’s chock full of quotes from framers of the Constitution and revered jurists throughout US history.

He’s not happy:

President Bush’s signature constitutional idea is that he is the law. The idea is taking hold in a climate of post-Sept. 11, 2001, fear. Under the banner of fighting international terrorism, Mr. Bush claims unchecked powers historically associated with despots: torture; kidnappings; secret imprisonments; indefinite detentions of suspected unlawful enemy combatants; violations of the Constitution and laws with impunity; and, the authority to employ the military at any time and place of his choosing. On the domestic front, Mr. Bush disputes the power of Congress to oversee the executive branch for lawlessness, abuses, or maladministration. He signs laws while asserting a right to disobey those provisions he pronounces to be unconstitutional.

With few exceptions, Congress, the media, and the public have slumbered as the Republic has been dismantled brick-by-brick. A restoration is possible, but only through an aroused and enlightened citizenry. There are no quick fixes.

In sum, the president has proclaimed the White House an uncrowned kingship. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has assured him impeachment is off the table. And Congress and the American people remain preoccupied with earmarks, steroids in athletics, and “American Idol.”

Fein, of course, was a higher up in the Reagan era DOJ.  It’s encouraging to see a genuine conservative– that is, one who is skeptical about excessive government power– speak out about the practices of the Bush administration.  Bush retains a 61 percent approval rating among Republicans, though, because conservatism as a political philosophy is dead in this country.

The Exaggeration Business

March 8, 2008

Just happened to catch Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on Pardon the Interruption (all quotes are paraphrased).  He was asked whether his rivalry with UNC coach Roy Williams has been exaggerated.  “It’s exaggerated on every level!” he responded.  “It’s what do you guys do, you’re in the exaggeration business!”

Wilbon or Kornheiser said something like, “well, you guys are hardly best friends.”  Krzyzewski evinced some irritation, saying, “why don’t we talk about the game?  What does it matter if he and I are not best friends, like the fact that he golfs and I don’t, or that I garden and he doesn’t.  Who cares?  Saturday’s game is going to come down to whether we can stop Hansbrough and whether they can stop us from shooting threes.”

Later on, when asked about Bob Knight’s future as a broadcaster, Krzyzewski said that broadcasters need to be much better at doing their job to “teach us the game, and teach us the history of the game.”

The media’s the exact same in sports and politics—the vast, vast bulk of coverage lacks any substance.

The difference is that in sports, it’s settled on the field— by performance.  So someone like Krzyzewski doesn’t have to care if the media talks about nothing but an imaginary rivalry.  Politics, though, is settled at the ballot box.  It doesn’t really matter if you’re an incompetent, indifferent steward, and you secretly want to launch a bunch of counterproductive wars.  If you can get the media to portray you as a regular guy, you just might get your chance.  And the campaigns are much more about exaggerated, fake controversies than they are about anything that affects the real world.


March 7, 2008

Pace Andrew Sullivan, the consensus of Washington journalists is hardly an immutable, always-accurate accounting of what’s going to happen in the world.

There are also very powerful strategic, economic and moral arguments for getting out as fast as we can. But what troubles me is that these arguments are not really relevant. The Washington elites have already decided. It’s unthinkable for the US to leave Iraq at any point in the foreseeable future. This, as Greenwald would say, is the Serious Position. You can challenge it in the campaign or on the blogs, but no one actually believes anyone will actually do this. They’re humoring us.

Hillary Clinton was the certain nominee, then Obama was.  McCain was dead, until he wasn’t.  Things change.  Consensuses change.

Shouldn’t it matter that a candidate says, and sixty-plus percent of Americans agree, that we should draw down our occupation?

(Post title is from this infographic).

Innovations in Press Relations

March 4, 2008

John McCain had a whole bunch of reporters to his house in Sedona for a barbeque yesterday.

Hillary Clinton stationed the press corps in a men’s room for five hours tonight.

Of course this sort of stuff wouldn’t affect coverage in an ideal world.  But it’s hard for me to see what purpose is served by antagonizing the press like this.

“I Was Only Kidding!”

March 3, 2008

Post Outlook section editor John Pomfret falls back on the last refuge of five year olds, claiming that the silly Charlotte Allen girls-is-stupid piece from yesterday’s paper was intended to be tongue-in-cheek.

Kieran Healy pointed out yesterday, presciently, that “if you misjudge the reaction, you can claim the whole thing was a joke,” in the course of arguing that “playing against type is a market niche.”

Curiously, no one seems to occupy the niche of “Republican always bashing Republicans,” in the way that Joe Klein, Richard Cohen, Camille Paglia, et al are out there bashing their home team.  Kevin Phillips is the closest I can think of.