Thursday :: Feb 19, 2004

Truth Corps Opportunity : The Post's Weisman Does The White House's Bidding Once Again


by Steve

As noted in this space recently, the Washington Post’s Jonathan Weisman seems to spend a lot of his efforts helping out the Bush Administration whenever he can. You don’t have to take my word for it. Brad DeLong has already come right out and said in essence that Weisman is flacking for the White House. As I noted in an earlier piece this week, Weisman got a Page One from his editors whose premise was that the economy might help Bush this year, even in the face of contrary polls. When I challenged Weisman on his piece, I got back the usual and desultory “did you read the piece?” response from him, which I responded to with three paragraphs of specific criticisms. I have yet to hear back from him again.

Today Weisman strikes again. He gets another Page One from his editors and an anti-Democrat headline (“Democrats Can’t Get Firm Grip On Jobs Issue”) to say the following:

Democratic presidential candidates have made the loss of U.S. jobs to international competition the centerpiece of their campaigns, but even some of the candidates' economic advisers acknowledge that remedies offered -- such as closing tax loopholes on overseas income and offering tax breaks for domestic hiring -- would probably do little to stop the bleeding.

Note how Weisman has somehow turned the question of Bush’s economic record on jobs and possible Democratic alternatives into one about their inadequacies and how the tax-based remedies offer few remedies. There are several obvious flaws in this story, not the least of which is upon reading the story, Weisman doesn’t even talk about what the two leading Democrats propose until the last five paragraphs of the story, well after he uses numerous paragraphs on a phony argument on the uselessness of tax-based remedies.

Which leads us to the second flaw in Weisman’s piece: who said the issue with Bush’s record on jobs relates to the tax system? It doesn’t. Bush’s record on jobs is tied to a small degree on cyclical factors that are beyond his control. Yet what Weisman ignores is that Bush has a single fix for all economic ills: more tax cuts. And as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has noted, none of Bush’s job growth promises in selling his three tax cuts have ever come to pass.

The big issue with Bush and jobs is that after well over three years in office, he has no policy agenda to deal with growing jobs here at home or to make outsourcing a less enticing prospect. Bush’s problem on the economy in general and on jobs in particular is a lack of will, concern, and intellect. There are no prescriptions offered by this White House to stimulate the domestic job market besides accelerated tax credits or write-offs and dividend tax cuts, none of which are means-tested or tied directly to domestic job creation. There is no work or energy by this administration towards creating new industries and developing new technologies to replace the industries and jobs lost to globalization. And there is no major public works infrastructure program being launched or expanded to maintain and grow our stock of deteriorating roads, bridges, water systems, and sewers which could generate millions of needed domestic jobs right here at home. Why? Because the Bush gang isn’t interested or doesn’t have the will to push for any of these things. Instead, all we get are one-size fits-all tax cuts that have yet to do anything on creating jobs but have managed to pad the bottom line of Bush’s campaign contributors.

Does Weisman mention any of this in his Page One story today? No. He redirects the whole issue of jobs and the Democratic response to a piece on the tax system, burying what Kerry and Edwards proscribe to a truncated five paragraphs at the end of the story, when the issue isn’t about taxes at all. It’s about a failure of will and vision, and yes concern about a diminishing job base here at home.

Perhaps the blogosphere should set up a modified Truth Corps to bird-dog specific reporters on their pro-Bush bias. Maybe bloggers and their commenters should follow the writings of certain reporters and zing them for perceived bias, intellectual shallowness, and factual inaccuracies. Sure, at least initially, these reporters, like Weisman has already done, will blow off 5-10 emails from readers on their complaints. But if after a while they start receiving 25-50 emails after every problematic piece, and if those emails are also copied to their editors and the paper’s ombudsman, then we might see some changes.

Steve :: 9:25 AM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!