Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz devoted the bulk of his "media notes" column today not to assessing the news media, but to amplifying GOP-friendly health care storylines. Kurtz:
Add to that the controversy over Obama's preferred "public option," which can easily be caricatured as government-run health care, and a general unease about rising federal spending, and you've got a prescription for gridlock.
If a public option like the one Obama and other politicians are talking about "can easily be caricatured as government-run health care," it's only because reporters don't make clear that such a caricature is very, very false, and that the people pushing such a caricature of being very, very dishonest. Kind of like Howard Kurtz just failed to make that clear.
The sense that Obama is on the defensive was deepened by the WP/ABC poll finding that "since April, approval of Obama's handling of health care has dropped from 57 percent to 49 percent, with disapproval rising from 29 percent to 44 percent. Obama still maintains a large advantage over congressional Republicans in terms of public trust on the issue, even as the GOP has closed the gap." His overall approval rating, though, is still a healthy 59 percent.
Shouldn't that have deepened the sense that the Republicans are "on the defensive"? Or does the "large advantage" Obama maintains over them somehow give the GOP an edge? If so, it would be super if Kurtz would explain how. Is this something like judo, where the Republicans are able to use Obama's strength against him? Or is it just that reporters like Howard Kurtz interpret polls in extraordinary illogical ways? My money is on that last one.
Cohn may underestimate the difficulty of raising taxes on the affluent, especially since the added sting of losing their Bush tax cuts could push the top rate to an onerous 47 percent.
"Onerous"? Well, I guess we know where Kurtz stands on tax policy. Maybe some day the Post will offer readers a media critic who doesn't share and echo the Republicans' view on key public policy issues, just for some balance. Maybe one who even critiques the media.