• While hanging out with white nationalist, Buchanan again attacks Sotomayor

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Last week, I explained that Pat Buchanan's mockery of Sonia Sotomayor for, as Buchanan describes it, having read "Pinocchio" as part of her "college work" is a crock. "Let's see if Pat Buchanan drops this inaccurate talking point," I concluded, though I think we all knew the answer was likely to be "No."

    Over the weekend, Buchanan confirmed that skepticism. While hanging out with the white nationalist he invited to his conference, Buchanan again mocked Sotomayor's summer reading. As Think Progress' Lee Fang notes, while Buchanan mocked Sotomayor's reading skills, he stood beneath a banner that misspelled the word "conference."


    Does MSNBC approve of Pat Buchanan's appearances on a "pro-White" radio show?

    What would Pat Buchanan have to say to get himself fired from MSNBC?

  • Howard Kurtz is "amazed" by right-wing attacks on ABC News, he just won't say so in print

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Here's Kurtz, the WashPost media critic, on the preemptive attacks on ABC for hosting forum on health care this week:

    I continue to be amazed that ABC is being bashed for its White House health scare special before a single minute has aired--but not by the fact that the GOP is trying to score points in advance.

    That was Kurtz's one-sentence take on the controversy. (It appeared in his daily online round-up of media news and notes.) What's curious is that, according to Nexis, Kurtz has not written a single word in the Washington Post itself about the right-wing attacks on ABC News. The media critic clearly thinks it's bogus to attack a news program before it's even been aired. Kurtz thinks it's nuts because every sane person who knows anything about journalism thinks it's nuts.

    But Kurtz won't say so in print. Kurtz and his editors won't devote any space inside the influential Washington Post to call out the right-wing crazies for their war on ABC News. Every Beltway journalists knows the attack is groundless and absurd, but people like Kurtz don't air those misgivings too loudly.

    Or else they might find themselves under the 'liberal media' gun.

  • Why did Ceci Connolly leave out key context? She won't say.

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    During today's online discussion, a reader asked Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly why she omitted important context in her reporting on the AMA:

    New York, N.Y.: Ceci, in your article last week you described the AMA as being "the nation's largest physician group," but for some reason you didn't note that that of the 800,000 doctors in America, just 1/3 are AMA members, nor did you mention that the AMA gets at least 20 percent of its budget from drug companies. And those same drug companies are in the midst of a multimillion dollar advocacy campaign against many progressive health reform ideas. Why did you and your editors choose to leave out this extremely crucial context? In Pitch to AMA, Obama Paints Mixed Picture

    Ceci Connolly: I don't think the two points are mutually exclusive. The AMA is the largest doctors' group, but it obviously does not represent every physician. That's the tricky part with any trade group.

    Connolly's response misses the point entirely. Yes, the tricky part in writing about trade groups is that they can be large but not fully representative. And Connolly failed to make that clear in the article in question. Reading the article, you would have no idea that AMA represents a small fraction of doctors. In fact, you would likely get the opposite impression. Nor did Connolly indicate, as the reader pointed out, that AMA gets significant funding from drug companies.

    Connolly's explanation -- "that's the tricky part" -- isn't an explanation; it is a reminder that her article was flawed. Which isn't really in question; the question is why, and whether she'll do better next time.

  • The blind leading the blind over at

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Here's the headline:

    Media Matters: FOX News Kills People

    I was pretty sure that headline was inaccurate. But just to double-check I clicked on the Fox Nation link to see what proof there was that Media Matters for America had claimed that Fox News "kills people." Slight problem. The article Fox Nation linked to simply sent me to an unrelated Washington Post article from the weekend about how a New York Times reporter had escaped from his captors in Afghanistan.

    No mention of Media Matters. No mention of how Fox News "kills people." No nothing.

    In other words, another sterling effort by Fox Nation.

  • Fred Hiatt's health care narrow-mindedness

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Here's the Washington Post editorial page chief:

    Broadly speaking, we know how to insure most Americans: Order them to get insurance, help pay for those who can't afford it and tell insurance companies to enroll anyone who asks.

    Hiatt doesn't seem to have even considered using either the Veterans Health Administration or Medicare as a model instead. Which is odd, since they already exist and, by most accounts, work rather well.

    Hiatt goes on to complain about the cost of health care reform -- which makes his refusal to consider other models all the more odd. After all, the Lewin Group has found that Rep. Pete Stark's proposal, for example, would produce the greatest overall savings:

    Though Rep. Stark's AmeriCare bill is the most expensive to the federal government, it provides the biggest overall health savings, lowering projected national expenditures by $58 billion (Figure ES-4). It achieves this by significantly lowering the costs of insurance administration by covering most people through a program like Medicare, which has substantially lower administrative costs than private insurance.

    So even as Hiatt portrays universal health care as too expensive, he ignores proposals that would do the most to cut costs.

  • The Red Scare Index: 22

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Here is today's daily Red Scare Index -- our search of CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC and CNBC for uses of the following terms: Socialism, Socialist, Socialists, Socialistic, Communism, Communist, Communists, Communistic, Marxism, Marxist, Marxists, Marxistic, Fascism, Fascist, Fascists and Fascistic.

    Here are the numbers for last Friday, June 19, 2009:

    TOTAL: 22
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 10
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 10
    Marxism/Marxist: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 2

    By Network:

    CNN: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNN Headline News: 6
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 6
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    Fox News Channel: 7
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 3
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 2
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 2

    Fox Business Network: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    MSNBC: 7
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 5
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 2
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNBC: 2
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 2
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    The above numbers are the result of a power search for these terms on these networks.

  • Media ignore NYT poll that shows overwhelming public support for health care reform

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The cable and network news outlets were especially guilty of turning away from the A1 Times story on Sunday. The survey indicated a jaw-dropping 85 percent of Americans think "the health care system needed to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt." Seventy-two percent support a government-run system, and a solid majority would pay higher taxes to get the reform done.

    Yet despite the relentless discussion of the topic of health care on television Sunday, particularly the morning talk shows, the Times poll went largely unmentioned.

    According to a search on both NBC and Fox News (surprise!) never once mentioned the polling results on Sunday. On ABC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC combined, the results were mentioned approximately one dozen times.

    If the poll had showed 85 percent opposed government-run health care reform, what kind of coverage do you think the poll would have received? I'm pretty sure Fox News would have devoted an entire primetime hour to the findings.

  • New York Times plays dumb about sore loser Norm Coleman

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    In the Sunday magazine, the Times' Matt Bai perfectly captured the Beltway press' soft take on Coleman's unprecedented effort to drag out the recount effort in Minnesota; an effort that even some Republicans have admitted is hopeless and was done purely in an effort to delay the seating of Democrat Al Franken.

    But according to media elites, Coleman isn't a sore loser (Al Gore was a sore loser!), and his four-corners defense didn't show contempt for the voters of Minnesota. Instead, it represented savvy hardball.

    The Times' headline:

    Everyone a Winner? The Lost Art of Conceding Defeat

    And right away, Bai seemed to excuse Coleman's behavior:

    Even before he ran for re-election to the Senate, Norm Coleman saw more than his share of ignominious elections. First he lost the Minnesota governorship to a former pro wrestler who called himself the Body. Then he just barely managed to wrest a Senate seat from an opponent, Paul Wellstone, who had recently perished in a plane crash. So can you really blame Coleman for having spent the last eight months furiously trying not to have to concede defeat to Al Franken -- a man who once acted alongside a gorilla on the set of "Trading Places"?

    You can't really blame Coleman, wrote Bai. After all, he lost to guy who used to be a comedian. But does anybody think that if Coleman had lost to a Democratic candidate who was an attorney or an investment banker than Coleman wouldn't have also pursued the same, losing delay strategy?

    Of course, not. But the press loves to point out how Franken's just a comedian. Why? Because the Beltway press doesn't take Franken seriously, which is one reason pundits and reporters have played dumb about Coleman's extraordinary and unprecedented sore loser routine in 2009.

    But the Times article got worse as Bai tried to couch Coleman's unmatched delay efforts as part of a larger social and political trend, where people just can't admit defeat anymore:

    What is new are the lengths to which losing candidates will now routinely go — and the money the parties will spend — to avoid their certain fates.

    Problem is, Bai can't find a single other politician who has ever played the sore loser role as enthusiastically as Coleman. Bai did point to the Washington state governors race in 2004 and noted it "disputed for eight months." Technically, that's accurate. But Washington seated its governor in January, 2005, just two months after Election Day, whereas Minnesota is still waiting to seat its second senator, thanks to Coleman's stall tactics.

    The other example Bai pointed to was " a special election for Congress in New York dragged on for more than three weeks amid legal arguments over what did and did not constitute a valid ballot." How exactly does a routine, three-week recount compare to Coleman's seven month-and-counting odyssey? Answer: It does not.

    Meaning, Coleman's not part of any larger cultural trend where politicians can no longer concede defeat. Hundreds (thousands?) of them do it every election cycle in cities and states across the country. Coleman represents the radical exception, but the 'liberal media' are too timid to call him out on it.

  • UPDATED: Maybe this explains the right-wing attack on ABC News

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The GOP Noise Machine's war being waged on the health care debate, and ABC News specifically, has to be put into context, and folks need to understand what's really behind the phony outrage, which is that the issue of health care reform appears to be a complete loser for the Republican Party. I think that's why conservatives in the press are so desperate to squash any public debate.

    The latest proof comes from the NYT:

    In Poll, Wide Support for Government-Run Health

    The sweeping results:

    Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

    My guess is that if most Americans opposed health care reform than conservatives wouldn't be so nervous about ABC News hosting a debate on the topic.

  • Good news

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From The New York Times:

    A New York Times reporter who was kidnapped by the Taliban has escaped and made his way to freedom after more than seven months of captivity in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    David Rohde, along with a local reporter, Tahir Ludin and their driver, Asadullah Mangal, were abducted outside of Kabul on Nov. 10 while Mr. Rohde was researching a book.