Beltway Zen: has the Washington Post ever met a liar it won’t publish?

At WashPo, the narrative is more important than the facts…

Earlier today a friend forwarded me, via e-mail, the text of an opinion piece that was ostensibly about the “new reality” on the right. It began well enough.

Following the recent tea party Tet Offensive — tactically disastrous but symbolically important — the Republican establishment has commenced counterinsurgency operations. Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee — both facing primary challenges from the right — are responding more forcefully to their populist opponents. Continue reading

The GOP's rose-tinted polling

If the conservatives were willing to take off their rose-tinted (and probably opaque) glasses and actually accept bad news, they would admit that the polls just aren’t in their favor. But rather than changing the data, they would serve the voters that elected them and do something to boost their polling numbers organically. And rather than pointing fingers and doing voodoo math, they would take action and do something to be approved of and praised for.

A team of researchers at University College London made a fascinating discovery regarding how we as humans retain news: that we remember good news, and we disregard bad news. By using magnets to stimulate the brain differently, they gradually got test subjects to incorporate more bad news into their recall and slowly got their subjects’ optimism to wane. Continue reading

Daily Caller's editor repeats falsehoods and half-truths about EPA's illusionary 230,000 new workers

Yesterday I reported on an article in The Daily Caller that turned reality on its head by claiming that the EPA’s attempt to avoid hiring 230,000 new employees to administer greenhouse gas (GHG) emission permits was actually the EPA planning to hire those employees. As I pointed out, the article had enough major errors that it needed either significant corrections or a full retraction.

Today the executive editor of The Daily Caller, David Martosko, attempted to justify the original article in an editorial. However, Martosko’s failed defense of an indefensible article means that The Daily Caller now has two articles that are so filled with errors and misrepresentations that they should be corrected or retracted entirely. Continue reading

No, Matthew, there won't be 230,000 new EPA jobs, so correct your article accordingly (update)

[See update at the end of the post]

The devil is always in the details. Which may explain why Matthew Boyle of The Daily Caller got his details and facts all twisted up when he wrote that the EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations would force the EPA to grow by 230,000 employees. Boyle got this information out of an EPA court filing submitted on September 16 in a case involving the EPA’s authority to tailor regulations to major emitters of GHGs instead of to every emitter of GHGs.

Media Matters for America initially discovered the error and pointed out that the EPA avoided hiring an additional 230,000 employees to administer the GHG regulations. Yet Boyle, Fox News, and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) all got that critical point wrong. Continue reading

Nota Bene #113: Seth's Near-Death

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #110: WEHT SWK?

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #101: Your Pal, Mike S.

“The guys who are shooting films now are technically brilliant, but there’s no content in their films. I marvel at what I see and wish I could have done a shot like that. But shots are secondary for my films, and with some of these films, it’s all about the shots. What’s the point? I’m not sure people know what points to make.” Who said it? Continue reading

Reality.org's new ad on the Washington Post a stroke of genius

Clean coal does not exist, contrary to what coal giants Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and the coal-industry group American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy (ACCCE) claim. The Reality campaign is trying to cut off the clean coal disinformation beast at the knees, and they deserve a great deal of credit for facing it head-on. But I was only luke-warm on their first TV ad, although their first print ad (same link) was better. They’ve recently released a comparison of the ACCCE’s lump of coal with sunglasses to the iconic cigarette-smoking Joe Camel that’s a little more pointed and, IMO, more effective.

But their (new?) ad at the Washington Post was a stroke of genius, because they put the ads up on every “Page does not exist” page that the WaPo puts up when you mistype a link or find one that’s out of date. Continue reading

The "dumbest generation": sloppy thinking, maybe, but it's put-up-or-shut-up time for Gen X

In the past I’ve written about a variety of generational issues, and have often focused on the Millennials. At times I’ve been construed as dogging them pretty hard. As I’ve tried to explain, my criticisms of them (for being entitled, for lacking critical thinking skills, etc.) haven’t really been criticisms of them, per se – a cohort that’s 75-100 million strong doesn’t get to be a certain way all by itself. The blame, if we want to use that word, falls on those responsible for educating and developing the generation.

Further, some have erroneously interpreted my critiques as somehow suggesting that my generation – X – was without flaw. Which, of course, is ridiculous. Every generation has its relative strengths and weaknesses, and X has been a trainwreck in some respects.

All of which leads me to the other morning, when fellow scrogue Brian Angliss forwarded along the link to a Washington Post column from Neil Howe, the man who co-authored, along with William Strauss, the finest series of works on America’s generations I’ve ever encountered. Continue reading

Did you notice that all polling organizations are liberal?

Did you know that Fox News is a liberal news organization? Not because it’s part of the so-called liberal media, but rather because Fox is based in the liberal bastion of New York City. Following similar “logic”, DJ Drummond has labeled every single polling organization in the U.S. as liberal because they’re headquartered in liberal cities or states. Continue reading

Ignoring her Bible, Palin denies human dominion over Earth

by Tom Yulsman

Sarah Palin’s Alaska has been called the “Paul Revere of global warming.” That’s because the sharp impacts the state has been feeling, including the just-announced near-record melting of Arctic sea ice this summer, are a warning of what the rest of us will soon be feeling.

But even as these impacts have become evident (and notwithstanding her equivocal, unconvincing comments about climate change in her recent interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson), Palin has remained in a state of denial. If she should ever ascend to the presidency, we would be right back where we started from with a leader who believes in her guts, like George W. Bush, that humans can do no wrong to the planet. And that fantasy could ultimately lead to a truly scary future.

The harm is already vividly apparent in Alaska. Continue reading

Jesus, McCain and the GOP: a former Republican ponders the future of the party

Most folks don’t realize it – even people who know me fairly well – but I used to be a Republican. Back when I was younger and, one supposes, more naïve about the relevance of certain kinds of economic theory, I was a pretty mouthy GOPper. I voted for Reagan twice and Bush the Elder once, and while I can defend myself by saying things like “Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale and Mike Dukakis,” I think it’s now clear that history will regard those voting decisions as, at best, insufficiently considered.

As time passed and I grew more … educated … I became more and more conflicted. Continue reading

Price increases do not equal tax increases

Robert J. Samuelson of the Washington Post has a problem with the idea of a cap-and-trade system for reducing carbon emissions: since it increases the cost of energy, it’s a tax, not a “trade,” and so should be called a “cap-and-tax” system instead.

I have a problem with his characterization, but not because he’s wrong about how energy costs will go up with the implementation of a a cap-and-trade system, or the straightforward carbon tax he prefers. Suddenly pricing what was previously free will absolutely increase the price of energy, no matter whether the price is determined by supposed market mechanisms or by government fiat. No, what I have a problem with is that he appears to be implying that anything that increases the price of energy is a tax. Continue reading

The "McCain standard" and the rise of the Calphalon Candidate

If you’re following America’s electoral theater at all, you know that we have a candidate with a preacher problem. And that the candidate in question has been put in the uncomfortable position of having to repudiate some of said preacher’s remarks (while not alienating those voters in the flock who actually, you know, agree with what the Reverend was saying). In case you haven’t been paying attention, the controversial cleric has pronounced God’s doom upon certain of the nation’s citizens, and the backlash against him and his favorite for the White House has significantly damaged the candidate’s chances.

Of course, I’m talking about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama. Errr, wait … that’s not right. That’s not who I’m talking about at all. Continue reading

S&R Poll: the press and trust

The results of the latest S&R poll are in. Readers were asked “Which major press entity do you regard as the most credible source of news?”

1. Other/None of the above (70)
2. BBC (64)
3. PBS (39)
4. CNN (15)
5. New York Times (11)
6. Washington Post (6)
NBC/MSNBC (6)
Wall Street Journal (6)
9. FOX News (4)
10. ABC (2)
USA Today/Gannett (2)
12. CBS (1)

Our new poll, which asks you about important issues that have not been adequately addressed, is now posted in the column to the right.

Getting us out of Iraq can get us out of recession

By Martin Bosworth

The American Prospect’s Harold Meyerson has an op-ed in the Washington Post today outlining the nature of the coming recession, and how our economic response is going to have to change if we’re to fix it.

“Wait,” you’re thinking, “is he saying we’re in recession? Surely not! I know it’s a worry, but no one’s actually said it’s official yet.”

Let’s take a look at the facts, then: Continue reading

Libertarianism doesn't work – but it's still useful

I’ve been searching for a reason why I like libertarians even as they drive me round-the-bend out of my mind sometimes. And on Saturday, Michael Kinsley of the Washington Post provided me that reason.

In his column titled The Church Doctrines of Pope Ron Paul – What’s wrong with libertarianism?, Kinsley described libertarianism as a movement that is so devoted to its principles that it is essentially irrelevant, but that is still vital to our political institutions. Libertarians focus so much on “free markets for everyone and everything” that they lose track of the bigger picture – things like pragmatism, or areas where the idea of personal property simply doesn’t (and can’t) apply. For example, Kinsley points out that fundamentalist libertarians (my term, not his) would reject government taxes for national defense, which is a “public good” issue that no individual should ever be allowed to decide for another. Similarly, pollution leeches across all personal property lines, and so must be addressed by governmental entities instead of nebulous “market forces.” And while I do understand (and even agree with) the right to die arguments that Kinsley rightly attributes to the libertarian impulse, he’s also right that the libertarian right to not wear a seat belt and speed runs smack into the brick wall of reality when the libertarian is involved in a fatal accident that snarls up traffic along a major highway for half the day. Continue reading

Romney gives non-Christians the finger

Today’s Washington Post has an editorial titled “No Freedom Without Religion?” that points out a little phrase I’d not heard about Mitt Romney’s “Kennedy” speech yesterday in Texas.

Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom…

Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government.

Continue reading

Ruth Marcus takes on Paul Krugman – and wins this round.

NYTimes commentator Paul Krugman is an economist who tackles all sorts of issues beyond just the economy, and I’ve been reading him since the early 1990s when I first discovered the New York Times. While I find I agree with him on a great many issues, I cannot understand his recent downplaying of the problem of Social Security. Last week he ripped Senator Barak Obama a new orifice for having the audacity to suggest that the Social Security problem was actually a “crisis,” and while I agree that Sen. Obama could have chosen a better word, the fact of the matter is that it’s easier and cheaper to fix Social Security’s various problems sooner rather than later.

And, as the Washinton Post’s Ruth Marcus pointed out in her commentary today, even noted commentator and economist Paul Krugman agrees with me. Continue reading

The “untouchables” of Virginia

By Martin Bosworth

Today’s Washington Post looks at the net result of anti-illegal immigration measures passed in Virginia’s Prince William County last week–an exodus of Latinos (both legal and illegal) from the region:

Diaz, a supermarket checkout clerk, was one of nearly 400 people who waited for hours to comment on the bill during the marathon pre-vote session that stretched into Wednesday’s wee hours. “Even after they passed that July resolution, I had hope that [the supervisors] would change their minds,” said Diaz, 37, who has legal status but worries about relatives who do not. Now, she noted bitterly, “I’ll be selling at a loss. But I don’t care. I no longer have any affection for this place that treats us this way. I just want to get out.” Continue reading