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.
Several media figures are promoting the notion of division among Obama supporters, asserting that "the left" is or should be disappointed with the president-elect's Cabinet selections. But the idea of significant disappointment with Obama runs counter to a USA Today/Gallup poll finding that 94 percent of Democrats "approve of the way Obama is handling his presidential transition."
A Washington Times article by reporter Stephen Dinan headlined "Obama hijacks GOP language on key issues" asserted that President-elect Barack Obama was "borrowing a line from the Republican-revolution playbook" when Obama said that, in Dinan's words, states should be "laboratories for solutions to the nation's big problems." However, later in the article, Dinan rebutted his own assertion, as well as the Times' headline, in noting that Obama "trac[ed] the concept back to Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who ... said states could 'serve as a laboratory.' "
On Hardball, Christopher Hitchens repeated an unsubstantiated claim he has made in the past: that Hillary Clinton "got" her husband to visit Pakistan in 2000 after a Pakistani-American PAC held a fundraiser that brought in $50,000 for her Senate race.
Mark Levin declared of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "[S]he's gotta have a big military jet. I mean, she's the first woman speaker. She wants a really, really big one. ... And if she doesn't get it, well then that's sexual discrimination." Levin ignored the fact that the House sergeant-at-arms -- who is responsible for the security of House members -- has said that a larger military plane for Pelosi, "that is capable of making non-stop flights" between Washington, D.C., and California, is necessary for "security purposes."
And is the stated purpose there to be as misleading as possible? Because it's become something of an epidemic.
Here's the latest: "Latinos unhappy with Obama picks."
Now, if you're a Politico novice, you might see that headline and think the article, written by Gebe Martinez, will detail how Obama's early key picks for his new administration have angered Latinos and that the article will include relevant quotes to back up the headline's crystal-clear claim.
But if you're a Politico veteran, you understand that headlines often have little to do with the article's content and that specifically in recent days/weeks headline that try way too hard to gin up conflict regarding the new Obama team usually fall flat.
Well, add this "Latinos unhappy with Obama picks" article to that pile because there is virtually nothing in the piece to justify the headline. Zero.
No joke, this is as close as the article comes to substantiating the "unhappy" headline [emphasis added]:
But at this early stage in the appointments process, there is a trickle of disappointment running through the Latino community.
We understand that in the click-through world headlines can make or break a story. But is maintaining some semblance of journalistic guidelines when hyping stories asking too much?
Its message: We're all doomed.
Writes Newshouds about FNC's new on-air promo:
Checkout the explosions. The fires. The terror, despair and anger in people's faces. Listen to the music. Note the countdown at the end (10, 9, 8, etc.) and the explosion that caps it all off. Oh, and look - the only nationally known people pictured are Joe Biden, Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama.
In recent weeks, several conservative media figures, echoed by Republican lawmakers, have responded to comparisons in the media of President-elect Barack Obama to FDR, or assertions in the media that a New Deal-level of government intervention will be necessary to resolve the current economic crisis, by asserting that the New Deal was a dismal failure, plunging the 1930s economy into a depression, an assertion that prominent progressive economists flatly reject.
The headline reads, "Biden replacement creates blowback."
It's about how Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner appointed Joe Biden's longtime aide Ted Kaufman to Biden's old Senate seat. Kaufman will be up for re-election in 2010 and it's widely thought that Biden son, Beau, Delaware's attorney general, who is currently serving in Iraq, will run in 2010.
In other words, there's a feeling that other Delaware pols were bypassed in order to keep the seat warm for Beau Biden. (It was a "ham-handed" move, Politico announced.) Hence the "blowback."
Juicy story, right? Well, except the fact that Politico can't find anybody to quote either on or off the record to back up the claim that the Kaufman pick created blowback within the Democratic Party.
Actually, strike that. Politico did quote a Republican who claimed the Kaufman pick sparked "bad blood" within the Democratic party.
And yes, a local, Delaware college prof was quoted saying, the Kaufman pick "is definitely going to be some blowback." [Emphasis added.] Note the verb tense, is going to. But has it? It's very possible that the Kaufman pick has. It's just that Politico can't find any proof, which is why, once again, the outlet is guilty of over-hyping its headlines.
In my most recent column, I looked at some of the absurd claims by journalists and pundits that Barack Obama's staffing choices are inconsistent with the idea of "change."
Yesterday, National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez offered the dumbest claim that Obama is failing to bring change that we've yet seen:
The Director of Emily's List Will Be The Face of the New Administration
And that's change you can believe in from the Democrats? Establishing the Obama administration as the voice pro-abortion Left?
Lopez refers to the announcement that EMILY's List executive director Ellen Moran will be Obama's White House communications director. But the White House communications director is rarely thought of as "the face of the administration." The President might be thought of that way, to be sure. And the press secretary - who delivers daily televised news briefings - is often described that way. Depending on the context, the Secretary of State could be called the "face of the administration." But the communications director? Not so much -- unless you consider Kevin Sullivan the face of the Bush administration. It seems Kathryn Jean Lopez knows less about White House roles than does a casual viewer of the West Wing.
More substantively: Lopez thinks the choice of a pro-choice communications director is inconsistent with Obama's promise of change? That's a simply nonsensical complaint. The current administration opposes abortion rights, so as a literal matter, a pro-choice administration is "change." More broadly: how many people does Kathryn Jean Lopez think voted for Barack Obama, but will be shocked that Obama has chosen a pro-choice communications director, and convinced that the choice conflicts with his message of change?
Lopez seems to be conflating "change" with "things I, Kathryn Jean Lopez, approve of." They are not one and the same. Indeed, given her ideological leanings and the election outcome, they are likely to be very different things.
In a Washington Times article, Jerry Seper repeated accusations in a House Republican report of wrongdoing by Eric Holder -- reportedly President-elect Barack Obama's choice for attorney general -- in the 2001 pardon of Marc Rich. In doing so, Seper falsely suggested that Holder was the author of an email telling Rich's attorney that "the 'timing is good' for Mr. Rich's request for a pardon," and did not report the refutation of the allegations by House Democrats.
Attacking Media Matters on his radio show for noting that his previous claim that Sen. Norm Coleman "was certified the winner" in the Minnesota Senate race was false, Bill O'Reilly repeated the falsehood, claiming: "[W]hat I said was, Coleman's victory was certified by the state because it was. He had 215 more votes, which is absolutely true." In fact, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board did not "certif[y]" a "victory" for Coleman or Al Franken, having authorized an automatic recount of ballots for that race; Minnesota election law states that "no certificate of election shall be prepared or delivered until after the recount is completed."