The Problem With Saying Everyone Is The Problem

Friday, February 22, 2013


Some of the coverage of the sequestration has been characterized as a "pox on both their houses" attitude towards the Democrats and Republicans who are, once again, inching us closer to the edge. Brooke speaks with New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait who says that sticking to that approach despite the facts can lead reporters and Op-Ed writers to mislead readers about what's really going on. 


Jonathan Chait

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Brooke Gladstone

Comments [15]

Mikala from onthemedia

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Jul. 26 2013 09:16 AM
Romeo Montague from Verona, Italy

Bitch, I'm over here!

Feb. 28 2013 03:36 PM
Juliet Capulet from Verona, Italy

Romeo, O Romeo, where art thou Romeo?

Feb. 28 2013 03:35 PM

Woodward has clearly said who the problem is, and now he is in big trouble.

Feb. 28 2013 08:05 AM

Feb. 27 2013 03:56 PM
Magister Ludi

If only people with different perspectives could come together and compromise.

Feb. 27 2013 01:42 AM
Jon from Utah

Reporting that a lack of brakes on a gravel truck which was not able to stop at an intersection resulted in an accident in which a busful of children were killed, is not an example of bias against the trucking company. Nor is pointing out that there are safety laws in place wich require inspections, and those laws were not followed, an example of bias against the trucking company. Reporting those things is an example of reporting the facts.

Judging the trucking company based on the facts may be up to the public, or the courts, but simply reporting the facts is not an example of bias.

Protecting the trucking company by NOT reporting the facts, however, seems to me to be a clear case of bias.

The public cannot make good judgments based on poor or incomplete information, and reporting information correctly seems to me to be the job of the reporting media. That's why it's called, "reporting."

Feb. 25 2013 02:56 PM
Jon from Utah

Mark Richard said, "...there are is a lot of reality that challenges the pro-Democratic and 'progressive' theory of American politics. If those theories were correct, the state of California (high-tax, high-regulation, high-poverty, high-unemployment, in spite of all kinds of built-in advantages) would not have been in the same straits as, well, other left-admired environments such as the Euro zone."

Mark is absolutely correct. Although the Eoro zone is a large place and conditions there vary widely, California under Jerry Brown is doing much better than it had been previously.

Apparently, using Mark's statement as a benchmark, progressivism works pretty well.

Feb. 25 2013 02:40 PM
Mark Richard from WOSU

To judge from the interview, and his well-known hatred of the Republican Party and the people who vote for its candidates, Jonathan Chait is incapable of distinguishing between 'intransigence' and 'disagreeing with Jonathan Chait and the Democrats'. The overall tone is in line with the left-leaning meme that the Dems and the Left have (as an amused Tom Wolfe once put it) a lien on History and reality, and to therefore report 'news' that challenges this view is to report falsehood. In fact, Bob Woodward, no friend of the GOP, reports that the Administration is significantly . . . I'll say 'misreporting events' . . . in its transparent effort to extend its campaign against the Party opposite through use of 'sequester' scare tactics.

Whatever Fallows (remembered for urging the US to follow Japanese industrial strategies around the time the Japanese economy went into the tank for a generation) and Chait think, there are is a lot of reality that challenges the pro-Democratic and 'progressive' theory of American politics. If those theories were correct, the state of California (high-tax, high-regulation, high-poverty, high-unemployment, in spite of all kinds of built-in advantages) would not have been in the same straits as, well, other left-admired environments such as the Euro zone.

Feb. 25 2013 12:54 PM

A Gregory: Your assertion has already proved incorrect. Bob Woodward reported on Friday that, "the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection. So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts. His call for a balanced approach is reasonable, and he makes a strong case that those in the top income brackets could and should pay more. But that was not the deal he made."

Feb. 25 2013 09:38 AM
Gregory Slater

The 'one party' that is most irrational and reckless but which the msm can never name

Although both Chait and Fallows presented examples to demonstrate that 'one party' was more radically intransigent and less rational than the other, neither of them nor Garfield had the guts to name that party. As if they were trying to demonstrate by their own example the very media gutlessness they are discussing. It is the repubs! the repubs! the repubs! Likewise, in all the discussions I have heard outside of fox entertainment, there is the tacit or outright assertion that 'one party' is the problem, yet that party is never named.

Please show a little guts. It's the repubs. OK?

Feb. 25 2013 03:12 AM

I wonder why what Bob Woodward, as Associate Editor has reported about sequester doesn't reveal who WaPo thinks is really responsible?

Feb. 23 2013 02:27 PM

I frankly lost track of Jon Chait as he bounced back and forth between the Washington Post's editorial page (about which he says he happens to know their true opinion on fiscal policy; I presume that he is talking about one, or just a few, editorial board editors) and the "reporting" of the story.

I'd have to say that if someone is wanting neutral and unbiased reporting of the story, there ought to be such a thing. I'm not much interested in baised reporting of the facts. I am interested in editorial opinions as a separate matter.

What I got from Chait in this story is that he feels frustrated that the WaPo editorials have been insufficiently partisan in favor of Obama. He seems to think that a right-minded editorial page editor would be more full-throated (again, Chait says he knows how they really feel) on one side of the debate.

I might just have some sympathy with Chait. I feel myself furstrated, when I think that editorials in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times or scores of other left-leaning papers are clothed in some sort of cloak of objectivity, when I know darn well who they voted for in the last election. I'd like everybody in the news business feel more entitled to take sides on stories that they cover. But first, I want to know how that reporter voted.

If it turns out that 90% of the people in the mainstream news biz voted for Obama, then that would be, uh, informative.

Feb. 22 2013 10:24 PM

To clarify, yes they wanted to raise the debt limit but it should be recalled that the Democrat leadership in recent years were opposed to raising the debt limit and voiced concern about the debt under Bush which they increased when they assumed power. Additionally there is no apparent evidence that they are serious about reducing the debt in the future. Thanks

Feb. 22 2013 10:13 PM

Only a lazy minded and partisan media would reflexively fault both sides for the crisis thus making the equal blame premise bogus.

This manufactures crisis actually began in 2010 and not 2011 as some clearly do not recall.

Obama, Reid and Pelosi refused to do their duty and quickly pass a serious budget in 2010 when they controlled the Congress after spending trillions and refused to raise taxes or the debt ceiling.
Instead they deliberately manufactured a crisis by vindictively playing political games with the incoming Republican House and past their trillions in new debt without a budget to them with a barrage of vicious demagoguery and defamation which the media encouraged. Civility and compromise were the media inspired watchwords (and canards) of the moment and so the Republican House leadership did take the bait.

Why is the media selectively ignoring that important political history instead of constantly reminding us of it like economic WMD?

"Republicans called for huge cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit.....which Democrats wanted to do"
Wanted to do after just spending trillions?
A very generous and sporting benefit of the doubt is handed to the Democrats here without a hint of the usual sardonicism.

The Democratic Party leadership deliberately put their political agenda ahead of the interests of the nation and today they are conspiring to torment the public with unnecessary and maliciously painful sequestration cuts knowing their media friends will blame the Republicans and cause the Republicans to cave meaning no debt reduction and stifling taxes.

If they are successful then what happens when the debt reaches over 20 trillion and the nation's finances begin to crumble?
When that happens will the news media share the blame for dereliction of their duty to inform the public with the facts and without partisan favor even when it comes to basic math and economics?

Feb. 22 2013 09:42 PM

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