Thursday, December 10, 2009

Journamalism: In What Respect, Charlie? Edition

BarbinMD (DK): Politico's Process: It's All In How You Tell The Story

Yesterday, Greg Sargent at The Plum Line ran a story that said:

Is Blanche Lincoln going to face a primary from her left over health care?

In a step in that direction, Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, who’s widely rumored to be mulling a challenge to Lincoln, came to Washington D.C. to huddle with a group of labor officials and liberal bloggers to discuss possibly making the race, two sources who were there tell me.

And here's Politico's Josh Kraushaar's version of the Sargent's article:

The Washington Post’s Plum Line is reporting that Arkansas lieutenant governor Bill Halter, one of the most liberal statewide elected officials in the state, is mulling over challenging Lincoln in the primary. He’s met with leading labor officials and progressive opinion leaders on a trip to Washington in his role as chairman of the Democratic Lieutenant Governor's Association.

That's some serious color commentary, isn't it? Kraushaar drops the part about it being a rumor that Halter is considering a run, tags him as "one of the most liberal" officials, elevates labor officials and liberal bloggers to "leading labor officials and progressive opinion leaders" -- and says this is what The Plum Line is reporting.

Kraushaar, a bona-fide, mouth-breathing movement conservative, takes a straightforward report and turns it into a cudgel for the opposition to attack Halter as a pawn of the far left.

That's quite a trick. Or quite the agenda. You make the call.

John Cole: In What Respect, Charlie?

No wonder they support Palin so much. Much like their goddess, they don’t know what the Bush doctrine is, either:



The Bush doctrine isn’t about the President unilaterally defending the country. The problem with the Bush doctrine is that it upended years of practice and established a policy of preventive war, which means that it is just kosher to invade anyone you perceive as a threat, so long as you can get five Weekly Standard interns together in the Office of Special Plans to agree a country was a threat and needed to be invaded because they might do something to us one day. Or Saddam looked at us funny.

No wonder these guys love Palin. It’s the blind leading the stupid.

And while we are at it, let me remind you all that Bill Kristol is still on the Washington Post payroll but they didn’t have the funds for Dan Froomkin.

John Cole: E & P Closing

Editor and Publisher, around since 1884, is closing:

Yes, it’s true, my magazine, E&P, axed today, out of job. At office until end of year—and here, of course.

You would think that would be a brand that one of the new media sites would want to snap up ala Froomkin.

Meanwhile, the Politico is still on the Pulitzer board.


About a month ago, CNN conducted a poll and asked respondents, "As you may know, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would make major changes in the country's health care system. Based on what you have heard or read about that bill, do you generally favor it or generally oppose it?" The results were pretty evenly split -- 49% opposed the bill, 46% supported it.

Today, CNN released a new poll, asking about the Senate bill. The results were painful.

"As a result, more than six in 10 say they oppose the Senate health care bill," [CNN Polling Director Keating Holland] said. "Republicans obviously don't like the bill, but two-thirds of independents also say they are against it."

One of the main sticking points, a public option administered by the federal government that would compete with private insurers, wins support from 53 percent of the public.

Now, the poll doesn't reflect the proposed compromise being considered in the Senate, but it's unclear if it would make any difference to the overall results -- the part that's being negotiated is more popular than the bill itself.

It's unclear how many of the 61% of opponents are on the left -- they oppose it because it's not liberal enough -- but looking through some of the internals (pdf), it's clear that much of the opposition is the result of the public believing the lies they've been told. For example, a whopping 79% of those CNN polled believe that the federal budget deficit would be even higher if reform passes, despite all the evidence pointing to the exact opposite conclusion. What's more, 85% believe their taxes would go up, which is also clearly not true.

The moral of the story, then, is to lie like crazy during all policy debates. An apprehensive public is likely to believe bogus claims, and the media will simply pass blatant lies along with "he said, she said" reporting. Treating voters like grown-ups will only lead to punishment when tackling the major issues of the day.

For what it's worth, Americans still trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle major changes to the country's health care system, but the gap has all but disappeared -- the Dems' lead is down to three, 43% to 40%. This, despite the child-like absurdities of GOP arguments and tactics throughout the year.

Falsifying the news
Dec. 9: Keith Olbermann names ABC News producer David Wright Worst Person in the World for presenting a segment of The Daily Show with JOn Stewart out of context to make Stewart appear to be a climate change denier when in fact he said the opposite.

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