Why the Press Can't Play Referee, and Why they Should

Friday, February 22, 2013


The Atlantic’s James Fallows believes that the failures we’re seeing in the sequestration coverage suggest a larger problem with our political system and the press that’s supposed to cover it. Fallows tells Bob that our press isn't comfortable playing referee, but they might need to start.


Hauschka - Radar


James Fallows

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [5]


Regardless of his popular mandate (and the $billions spent buying it), Obama is America’s CEO and the office, at any rate, deserves respect. That is, until or unless his extreme politics put citizens in harm’s way.

Giving the FAA a haircut by “trimming” away air traffic controllers and closing tower facilities is anti-societal. Of all the federal programs moved to the public guillotine for our entertainment, closing control towers and furloughing controllers is more than just a few degrees left of violating the public trust.

Yes, it dovetails with Obama’s stated position that GA is an undeserved luxury of the rich. While in fact, it provides the White House with a convenient segway to promote a central message of class warfare.

Homeland Security was launched in 2003 amid a blistering PR campaign aimed at convincing us of the need to be scanned and frisked at airport check-in lines. I’m not going to debate its importance other than to point out the Boss’s decision to highlight just how his opposition in Congress is forcing him to compromise national security at our borders, airports, shorelines, public hospitals, etc.

Serendipitously he is advocating raising the minimum wage 20% from $7.25 to $9.00.

Obama’s political theatrics really should be revisited beyond the superficial reviews of Internet media and network talking heads. At a certain point this showmanship becomes terrorism.

Feb. 28 2013 01:14 PM
Chris Knox from Phoenix, Arizona

Since James Fallows raised the "Barack Obama birth certificate nuttiness," I have a question. First, a disclaimer: Like Charles, I don't have any particular issue with Barack Obama being born in Hawaii. There are other indicators that seem to validate that he was born in Honolulu. I agree that there is genuine nuttiness around the so-called "birther" issue. Nonetheless, the PDF document posted on the White House web site has internal artifacts that at least provoke questions. I know just enough about computer graphics to agree that the document appears to have been retouched. While Mr. Fallows attributes the "birther" controversy to partisan politics, not only does he, like much of the rest of the media, attribute the issue to partisan politics, but he and the media fail to even take a close look at the source of the controversy -- the document itself. Thus is born the bias charge.

Feb. 26 2013 07:04 PM

I think both of the below comments misunderstood the difference between the POINT he was making and the illustrative examples he uses. He's talking about the PRESS ITSELF more than anything, and the difficulty of reporting in the current political climate, where BASIC FACTS are being called into question. That's the point.

Feb. 26 2013 04:44 AM

The guest expresses so much frustration with common procedures and acceptable maneuvers in the US Senate yet not one mention that the US Senate has not passed a budget in over three years while authorizing massive spending with a debt over $16 trillion.
What about that "structural breakdown" and routine abuse?

Why does that "basic fact" which contributed greatly to the sequester and the financial crisis get wholly ignored but the guest sees fit to confuse and distract from the issue with unserious and irrelevant matters.

Isn't the guest's viewpoint regarding the "failures we’re seeing in the sequestration coverage" a good illustration of the problem?

Feb. 24 2013 11:02 AM

James Fallows attributes "the Obama birth certificate" controversy to partisan politics. Can Fallows name who, where and how Republican congressional leadership contributed to that controversy?

Which policy debate did the Obama birth certificate impact? How?

I voted against Obama, twice. If I had been an election official in Ohio I might have voted against Obama eight times, twice. But I never doubted that Obama was born in Hawaii to an American woman. And I cannot recall any serious person in Republican leadership who said otherwise. What/who is Fallows talking about? Donald Trump? If Fallows wishes to cite Donald Trump as a member of Republican leadership, I'll cite Al Sharpton as a member of Democratic leadership. See how that one works?

Feb. 22 2013 10:40 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.