Time's Karen Tumulty described an "underplayed story of the day":
On A17 of the Washington Post: The U.S. Attorney scandal now has a new prosecutor of its own, after a scathing report confirms that there were, indeed, political motives at work in the firings.
A17? That is, indeed, an underplayed story.
You know who else has underplayed it? Time magazine. Tumulty's post is the only Swampland mention of the "scathing report" that "confirms" the central question of the scandal: that the Bush administration fired the U.S. Attorneys for political reasons. Time's web page has no other mentions of the report, other than a reprint of an Associated Press article.
But that's nothing new: Time has been underplaying this story for more than a year and a half. When the scandal first broke in January 2007, Time Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney mocked liberals for "seeing broad partisan conspiracies where none likely exist." He and his magazine then ignored the story for months, leaving the journalism to Josh Marshall and the TPM crew, among others.
And Time continues to underplay the story to this day, even as Tumulty chides the Washington Post for burying its coverage on page A17.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto contradicted reporting by Fox News by suggesting that the financial bailout bill would not have failed if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "had just shut up earlier and not characterized it one way or the other" in a speech she gave before the vote. However, Fox News producer Chad Pergram reported before Pelosi spoke that Republicans "may only have 40 to 60 of their members" supporting the bill, a number that Pergram said "leaves us very short there." Additionally, several GOP House members have said that Pelosi's speech did not cause Republicans to switch their votes.
A McClatchy article stated that Sen. John McCain "appeared before the press in Iowa ... and said: 'Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems. Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship in the process.' " But the article did not note that in the next sentence of the same speech, McCain contradicted himself on whether it was appropriate to affix blame, saying: "Now is not the time to fix the blame. It's time to fix the problem."
ABCNews.com's Terry Davis and Rigel Anderson reported that "[Sen. John] McCain's top policy adviser hammered [Sen. Barack] Obama for a set of prepared remarks which incorrectly assumed that the bailout would pass," but they did not note that both McCain and another key McCain campaign adviser prematurely touted McCain's role in achieving passage of the bill.
Several conservatives in the media have recently blamed the Community Reinvestment Act for the current financial crisis -- when, in fact, the CRA does not apply to institutions making the vast majority of troubled loans underlying the crisis. It applies only to depository institutions, such as banks and savings and loan associations. Experts have estimated that 80 percent of high-priced subprime loans were offered by financial institutions that are not subject to the CRA.
Several media outlets falsely suggested that only Democrats denied Republican claims that Speaker Nancy Pelosi's speech on the floor of the House of Representatives before a September 29 vote on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 "cost some GOP votes." In fact, several House Republicans also have denied the allegation.
Mike Barnicle and Mark Halperin on MSNBC this morning agreed that the unserious media fell down in terms of holding the powerful accountable. That it, "abdicated that responsibility" over the years.
Under the headline "More Elderly Humor From Robert Gibbs," Time's Michael Scherer writes:
This morning on MSNBC, [Obama spokesman Robert] Gibbs returned to the make-fun-of-the-elderly joke well. "Just yesterday, John McCain said we shouldn't fix blame. He took a breath and then fixed blame. He said the fundamentals of our economy are strong, and he flip-flopped. He opposed the bail-out of AIG, and then he supported it. This guy zig-zags. Look, if he's driving a car, get off the sidewalk." (Video here.)
Hardy Har Har. Back in the 2004 presidential election, one in four voters was 60 years old or older. I am sure they find these sort of jokes from Obama's top message man hilarious. Just hilarious.
Uh ... if you "zig-zag" while driving, you'll likely end up on the sidewalk. That doesn't have anything to do with age; it has to do with most roads not being zig-zag shaped.
At the beginning of Scherer's post, he referenced a comment by Gibbs about McCain's failure to remember how many houses he owns as another example of Gibbs criticizing McCain's age. But Gibbs didn't say anything about McCain's age in that comment, either. He made a comment about McCain forgetting how many houses he has because McCain forgot how many houses he has.
Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner, have said that Republican members of congress voted against the bailout legislation because they were upset over Nancy Pelosi's speech.
Reporters should ask John McCain if those members were putting "country first."
On the CBS Evening News, Bob Orr repeated Republican claims that "[c]onservative support" for the financial bailout bill "evaporated" because of a speech given by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- without noting contrary statements by members of Congress, including Republicans.
CNN's Tom Foreman falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain "has always said" allowing young people to set up private Social Security accounts "is not instead of Social Security; this should be in addition to Social Security." In fact, McCain supported President Bush's 2005 Social Security proposal, which would have allowed workers to divert up to 4 percent of their wages into a private account, thereby removing it from the money available to pay Social Security benefits for current retirees.
Last week, I noted that just the credit crisis was consuming Wall Street and turning it into arguably the biggest news story of the entire year, Newsweek arrived at my doorstep on September 15.
I counted up the pages the mag devoted to the Wall Street disaster (1) that week, and compared that to the number of pages Newsweek devoted to the White House campaign (16) and noted that the disparity highlighted how invested, professionally, journalists were in campaign story and how reluctant they were to pivot away from it even momentarily. (It was fun to cover!)
Believe or not, two weeks later the disconnect is just as bad at Newsweek. Despite the rolling, unprecedented bank bailouts and the fact that news consumer now, in numbers rarely seen by pollsters, almost universally proclaim the state of the economy to be the biggest story of the day and the one they are (nervously) following most closely each week, Newsweek's latest edition can't really be bothered.
Pages devoted in the latest Newsweek to the Wall Street fiasco: 4.
Pages devoted to the latest Newsweek to the White House campaign: 22.
On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "wants" "higher taxes." In fact, the Tax Policy Center concluded that, compared to Sen. John McCain, "Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers" -- those households earning more than $250,000 per year.
On Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday, Steve Doocy stated that FactCheck.org said it was "true" that Sen. Barack Obama voted for a "bill that ... would increase taxes on people earning as little as $42,000 a year." Doocy added: "[Sen.] John McCain said, 'That was true, you did.' " In fact, FactCheck.org stated that "McCain was correct -- with qualification," adding that the votes McCain has previously cited for the claim were on a measure that "actually would not have altered taxes without additional legislation. ... McCain is referring to the provision that would have allowed the 25 percent tax bracket to return to 28 percent. The tax plan Obama now proposes, however, would not raise the rate on that tax bracket."
In the post-debate spin room, should journalists at least try to differentiate what's being said? Jeralyn at TalkLeft notes as an example Nicole Wallace's claim on CNN that Obama would raise taxes "on the vast majority of the American people."