Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Question for Liberals

Same question as the conservatives got: How good a job do you think the Democratic partisan press -- MSNBC, liberal blogs, liberal talk shows if there are any -- has done of covering the presidential nomination process during this cycle? Are they helping you understand what's going on, or just having fun bashing the candidates?

16 comments:

  1. A mix of both. A lot of blogs have done a pretty adequate job serving as a sort of fact-checking watchdog. But not always. I think Kevin Drum said it pretty nicely a few days ago, that you can post a wonky repudiation of every absurd policy proposal or claim that the candidates make, but at some point you just want to throw up your hands and engage in meta-commentary about the crazy state of the Republican Party instead. I do wish there was more of the former, as I think the latter is generally implied at this point.

    I dont have MSNBC, so the only bits I get from them is stuff linked on Mediaite, which of course tends to focus on the wilder events that happen on the network. Nonetheless I havent been too impressed with MSNBC since they shifted to a more openly partisan role. Like Fox, I think they function more as a good business model than as a means to truly shape political attitudes.

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  2. I think they've done a pretty good job when it comes to horse-race coverage and issue coverage. But I think the coverage of money in the race, whether by the individual campaigns or by super PACs, has been surprisingly lacking. And I'd have really expected them to make a bigger deal of Buddy Roemer's campaign, both for how that contrasts with the likely Republican nominee, and given that they paid attention (at least a little) to Mike Gravel in '08.

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  3. I don't listen to Fox, Rush, et al, but do listen to NPR, MSNBC, ABC & NBC. None of these stations has ever shown the Romney plan of Job Creation. But then again, I don't know if Romney ever articulated one. I kinda do buy into Wasserman-shultz view that Romney is an accomplished Job Cremator though.

    Shirt

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  4. They've been too focused on the ridiculous candidates (looking at you, Herman) and have been rather lenient on Romney. The overwhelming narrative is that Mitt is rich, fake, and not much else, but really there's a lot more to be said about how poor his policies are.

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  5. I don't have a TV, but my regular blogs (Krugman, Steve Benen, Chait, Drum, Sargent, TPM, Yglesias, you) seem to be doing a decent job. I thought Drum's four-fold chart on the various GOPers' tax plans was particularly good--rightly hailed by Yglesias.

    I don't know much about the Rep candidates' proposals for the "replace" part of the ACA "repeal and replace," except that Santorum is fine with discrimination against pre-existing conditions. This may because none of them have a clear alternative, however.

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  6. One thing that becomes more and more apparent as Mitt skates on unscathed is MSNBC's bias towards creating a competitive GOP race where there really isn't one. Certainly this could be applied to some other liberal founts as well.

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  7. I'm getting a good strong dose of Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz on the radio, with a smattering of other liberal radio hosts & I'm trying to get out more on the blogs, I can get filled up on Andrew Sullivan & the Atlantic site (in the time I have available in an active real life), which seem to present plenty of moderate & conservative arguments. Maybe I'm weird, I like Yahoo for local news, weather, sports & such (and so all the weird cultural stuff and the insipid mainstream political coverage washes over me), and after 40 years in the business world I also enjoy Bloomberg's news site, so I'm definitely not cocooning in some some liberal nest.

    Thom and Ed especially, are presenting a good amount of analysis & news I'm not seeing on my screens, Thom is very much into the struggle to contain corporate personhood, Ed has a lot of interviews with labor leaders & has done his best to understand the Occupy movement, both do very well on tying our economic problems to the Republican's long war on the middle class. I'm also on an environmental activist's insider list, they are essentially dug in for many years war against the unnecessary pollutions and destruction of the various natural resource industries and the government oversees that are at least half-captured by these same industries; these tireless activists really need more attention and support both from the liberal elements of the larger media, and from the politically-oriented liberal & left blog readership.

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  8. What an interesting question. I actually think it's too early to tell because, frankly, we haven't really had a presidential campaign yet. The GOP race has been Romney against a field of extremely weak candidates who never got confortable agressively going after him. (This is probably because they know he's the likely nominee and they realize it's bad to attack the likely leader of the party). The left-leaning press has focused on the outrageous things the GOP candidates have done, which fine becuase that's really been all there is to talk about. I am disappointed, however, that they have not talked more about Obama and the Dems. This has been an area where the left-leaning press has come up short for a while, I think. I'm not for a minute suggesting they should be a PR outfit for the party, the way the conservative press is for the GOP. That said, I'm disappointed that so many liberal commentators have failed to make the point that the reason Mitt Romney can't seal the deal isn't because he's such an everyday independent, it's because he's an uncompelling, lame candidate. People don't like Mitt Romney. People do like Barack Obama. People don't like republicans in Congress. The democrats' views on issues are generally supported by a plurality of the country. These stories are deeply under-reported by the political press because, I think, the liberal press doesn't feel the need to tell the party's story for them. In the press, liberals have good wonks (Ezra Klein, Jon Chait, Matt Yglesias) and good muckrakers (Taibbi, Frank Rich), but we don't have good agenda-setting, political writers the way the Republicans do. Part of political writing is, well, political. My sense is that the GOP has learned to master the art of working with the political media much better than the Dems have. This is going to be a big problem in the 2012 election even with a weak GOP nominee.

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  9. One other thing. I really like Greg Sargent at Washington Post. The left needs a bunch more of him in the Beltway press corps. I like Chris Matthews because I think he is one of the sharpest political reporters there is (although he rarely gets credit for this). I like Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes. Both are smart, interesting, intellectually honest, but not not making their name by trying to lead an idelogically pure movement. The rest of MSNBC sucks, in my opinion. I think Schultz is patronizing.

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  10. Doesn't matter- all these skunks have shown their stripes before. I don't need to hear the latest spin on their pampered, privileged lives. They were worthless the first time around, and they are worthless reruns now.

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  11. I've been very disappointed with all the press for being math-phobes. I want to know what the numbers are on policy proposals. For example, what kind of revenue would the 9-9-9 plan actually raise? With X other proposal, would the deficit go up or down?

    It is so rare for any media to be looking at the numbers, verifying or debunking numbers, asking questions when there are discrepancies. Come on, I'm not just going to trust these guys, so show me the numbers.

    Instead, I've seen very little of this in the press, and I had to go out and do my own research (like this), even though one person with only an internet connection isn't exactly the best scenario for solid research and understanding of an issue. (On the internet, no one can tell if you're a crank, so they might as well assume it.)

    Maybe this shortcoming is just due to an overall lack of detailed reporting on policy positions, which could be due to a lack of in-depth interviews. I get the feeling candidate aren't willing to do those anymore, except maybe Ron Paul.

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  12. ..."if there are any" says it all.

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  13. MP, this might interest you: “Ron Paul is the only candidate who actually produced a proposed federal budget. … When it comes to proposing specific spending cuts and identifying the dollars amounts, Paul’s website is unrivaled.”

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/a-guide-to-the-presidential-candidates-proposals-to-cut-spending/

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  14. Way too much coverage of the horse race, not enough analysis of the horses in the race. We hear about money, polls, etc., but not enough analysis of policy. And no context for policies -- those that a president could implement vs. those that require congressional action, etc. So most voters don't understand what a candidate says he'll do vs. what he can actually do. Not enough analysis of the impact of those policies.

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  15. Even the supposedly liberal media has failed to offer a convincing explanation of why the other GOP candidates aren't destroying Mitt Romney on his obvious flaws as a candidate for his party's nomination given that his party has been overrun by Tea Party radicals who think the individual health care mandate = Hitler. Why is Romney getting almost a complete free pass from the other contenders and Fox News? Is the fix in or is it just massive incompetence? I can't tell.

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  16. There is no liberal media. PBS and Chris Mathews are as down the middle as they get. It is a sign of how distorted the debate has become that these very conventional, down the middle beltway types are described as left wing. Even Rachel Maddow is far to the right of say, FDR (or for that matter, even Richard Nixon). What a pathetic state of affairs, particularly since these ragged times cry out for a true voice of the powerless, the working class and the poor.

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