The latest: "Holder pardon makes Dems squirm."
Obviously, it's an article about Obama's pick of Eric Holder to be his AG, and specifically a look at Holder's role in the the last-minute pardon granted to Marc Rich in 2001. The press, desperate for some sort of conflict narrative, has been clinging to the story.
But look at the headline, "Holder pardon makes Dems squirm." Pretty simple, right? Clearly the article will include evidence--quotes, anecdotes, etc.--indicating how Dems are squirming about Holder's pardon role, right? You'd think. But this is Politico, where editors clearly feel no reason why headlines should match the article's content because, FYI, Politico provide zero evidence--none--that a single Democrat is squirming. Not one Dem in the article raises real-time concerns about the pardon.
Question: Why would Politico attach a headline that claims Dems are squirming if Politico has no evidence Dems are squirming? Answer: It makes the article seem more interesting. It helps sell the content. But last time we checked that's called marketing, not journalism.
UPDATE: The Politico headline has been changed to "GOP hopes Holder makes Dems squirm"
Or let me put it this way: Does anybody really think think that if Obama had reached out to a former, high-profile male primary opponent for a senior cabinet position that the press would be all atwitter with incessant and clichéd talk of "drama," which, let's face it, isn't a very far leap to, Hillary's a drama queen.
And is this the new double standard that the Beltway media operate under: Female politicians with star power can now be effortlessly tagged with creating too much "drama"?
The headlines reads "In Banking, Emanuel Made Money and Connections" and here's the nut graph:
The period before he was elected to a House seat from Illinois is a little-known episode of Mr. [Rahm] Emanuel's biography. Former colleagues said the insight it afforded him on the financial services sector is invaluable especially now. But Mr. Emanuel built up strong ties with an industry now at the heart of the economic crisis, one that will be girding for a pitched lobbying battle next year as the incoming Democratic administration considers a potentially sweeping regulatory overhaul.
Take away the "but" and the facts of the story don't change. (Emanuel still got rich from the investment biz.) However, the emphasis sure does. In fact, without that suspect "but," whatever tension the article attempts to create pretty much vanishes.
Newsbusters is the online destination for conservative anxious for more (hourly) proof that the press has a liberal bias. On Monday, the theme was the press was too nice during the announcement of Hillary Clinton as SoS. ("No Raining on Obama's Parade, As Nets Fail to Remember Attacks on Hillary") And in general it's been that the press has been too nice to the Obama post-election. ("Walters Put Bush on Defense in 2001, But Tosses Softballs to Obama.")
You get the idea. Newsbusters posts a headline about a supposed press calamity and then explains what horrible newsroom crime against the GOP (or humanity) has been committed by the America's ocean of biased reporters.
But the item headlined "CBS Offers Tribute to Harvey Milk: 'A Rebel With A Cause'" caught our attention because Newsbusters never got around to complaining about anything in the CBS report. There was nothing factually wrong, at least not accoridng to Newsbusters. And there were no allegations of bias. Newsbusters didn't claim any relevent information had been left out of the CBS report.
Was the the only reason Newsbusters posted the item because Newsbusters was irked that CBS devoted time to a movie about a (liberal) gay guy. And if so, does that really qualify as media criticism?
P.S. We wouldn't want to be in the Newsbusters office the day this year's Academy Awards nominations are announced.
Yesterday Greg Sargent at TPM noted that the press pretty much shrugged its collective shoulders in response to president Bush's declaration that the biggest regret of his presidency was the failure of the intel prior to the Iraq war.
As Sargent noted:
Not a single one of their reports on the interview that we can find bothered to tell readers that there was plenty of good intel -- ignored by the Bush administration -- saying that Saddam wasn't the threat Bush was claiming he was.
Perhaps urged on by the press' non-response to the heavy-handed revisionism, war cheerleaders Karl Rove and Bill Kristol have now added their voices to the if-we'd-only-known chorus. Writes Sam Stein at HuffPo:
Former Bush strategist Karl Rove said on Tuesday evening that had the President known Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, the United States would not have gone to war.
As for the NYT columnist:
Bill Kristol...said he agreed with the sentiment that "the President would not in fact have gone to war if he had known what seems to be the case, that Saddam did not have functioning weapons programs at the time."
Again, no signs yet that the press is interested in correcting the record. Whether that has anything to do wtih the fact that the elite press largely signed off with the WH's plans for Iraq in 2003 and that lots of pundits now also subscribe to the misleading if-we'd-only-know talking point, it's hard to say.
On Tuesday, Rupert Murdoch's flagship newspaper hyped the British tabloid report about Obama having ordered a $30,000 "thank you" ring for his wife Michelle. And yes, the Post claimed the story was rich in symbolism:
The country's economy is in shambles, but President-elect Barack Obama is reportedly sparing no expense when it comes to bling for his first lady.
Loved the "bling" reference to the first African-American First Lady, didn't' you?
Anyway, turns out the story's not true. Both Obama's camp and the Italian jeweler in question have denied the report, a fact even Matt Drudge conceded. But according to Nexis, the Post remains mum about the facts surrounding a false story it hyped.
Here's the lead from John Harris and Glenn Thrush:
Hillary Rodham Clinton has a favorite expression for turning setback into opportunity: "Bloom where you're planted."
Her three-decade career on the public stage has produced countless examples of Clinton sprouting a flower in a pile of manure. Few of them are more vivid than this week's official announcement that she is the nominee to serve as secretary of state to Barack Obama.
How else would you read that?
This is quite amusing.
Word leaked this week that NBC was going to tap David Gregory for the coveted moderator position at Meet the Press. But now we learn that "the network has not finalized the deal," that "negotiations" are still on-going, and that the leak may be "potential impediment to concluding the deal." Gregory might even have a offer from GMA!
Is any of this unusual? Not really. The media elite sometimes negotiation their seven-figure deals through the press. But it sure is funny to watch a journalist at the center of this type of story considering that when word recently leaked a certain junior senator from New York was up for the SoS job, that negotiations were ongoing and that the leak may have been premature, the press howled about how difficult Hillary Clinton was being and how she always brought so much "drama" with her.
So what's Gregory's excuse?
For us, we hope Gregory just takes the job so we don't have to listen/hear/watch any more deeply serious Beltway reports about who's going to moderate the show. To us, based on the CW roster of reported finalists, it's just not that important.
Profiling sitcom actresses for entertainment magazine. (Can't say we're surprised.)
If we take up a (large) collection, do you think we can convince Graydon Carter to bring MoDo on staff at VF, which would open up a slot on the NYT Op-Ed page for somebody who, y'know, is actually interested in politics and American governance?