Conservative media critic Howard Kurtz has gone after Anderson Cooper for allegedly taking sides in his reporting of the revolution in Egypt. Cooper said the Mubarak regime lied about a number of matters including assaults on journalists. Kurtz took issue with using the word "lies."
Dana Milbank, in an opinion piece, recently reported the obvious: the GOP will benefit in 2012 if the economy slips a little more. He made it clear the GOP leaders must know this and that their present economic plans could be designed to insure that they profit from continued hard times.
Liz Trotta of FOX joined in criticizing Anderson Cooper. She, like Kurtz, seems to think that objectivity consists in just reporting each side's talking points. Any effort to fact check and find out what is true breaches objectivity. Of course, who should look for any instructions on objectivity from FOX. A recent refugee from that Republican propaganda organ has said that the folks there often simply make up stuff.
This "he says-she says" approach has become the standare for the mainstream media. It confers enormous benefits on whoever decides to make up facts and make outrageous claims. For example, we have heard people claiming the stimulus created zero jobs and even prtoduced negative job growth. The data from the Congressional Budget Office says that at a minimum, it saved and produced 3.3 million jobs. Time and again, MSM reporters did not challenge such wild claims.
The standard for objectivity in opinion pieces seems a little different. A year ago Michael Gerson intruduced the "unthinkable" standard when attacking an obscure pundit who said that the Republicans did all they could to hold down the stumulus because they knew that they would have a rich harvest in 2010 if the stimulus did not bring back most lost jobs. Gerson said this was simply "unthinkable" because no good American would make such calculations.
The simple fact is that this is exactly what happened. The stimulus was far less than it should have been and two Nobel Prize winners, Jos Stiglitz and Paul Krugman consistently noted this. Krugman, however, did not seem to reralize the Barack Obama and the Democratic Congressional leadership produced as much as they could.
Dana Milbank, writing about John Boehner's lack of concern over what his budget cuts will do to jobs, correctly noted that the proposed cuts will cost just short of a million jobs, when all is tallied. The proposed cuts will cause a shock to the economy that would slow, if not reverse, the recovery.
We can be sure that conservatives will take Milbank to task for stating the obvious--that Republican strategy must take this into account.
He covered his backside by adding that austerity and drastic cuts might create an
atmosphere for creating jobs sometime in the future. That may or may not be true. He should have said in the very distant future. No one has produced any hard data from scientific stuedies to prove this.
Ron Paul did introduce a theoretician from the Ludwig von Mise Institute whose ideology supports this claim. But there wass no hard data.
The other aspect of this communications question has to do with Democratic ineptitude
in respondint to the constant attacks from the Right. It reminds me of when my high school fielded a football team for the first time in 1948. It was so bad that it often had to resort to quick kicks on third down. The comparison between Democrat and Republican communications tactics might be my 1948 team at its worst vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers at their very best. There is no contest.
But Democratic ineptitude should be the subject of another diary in a week or so.
My next entry will be a reprint of something a close friend wrote. I will credit him and tell where it can be found. I might add a comment or two at the end.