Thursday, January 04, 2007

Media Notes: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Kind of an up-and-down day for Howie...

The Good:
One of the perks of being president--a Republican president, at least--is that, besides a nice white mansion with a chef and your very own armed forces, you get to write for the Wall Street Journal op-ed page.

(...)

And what issue has the president decided to put his muscle behind? Let's examine the words of George W. Bush:

"One important message I took away from the election is that people want to end the secretive process by which Washington insiders are able to slip into legislation billions of dollars of pork-barrel projects that have never been reviewed or voted on by Congress....

"...It's time Congress give the president a line-item veto. And today I will announce my own proposal to end this dead-of-the-night process and substantially cut the earmarks passed each year."

Let me get this straight. After six years of a Republican Congress earmarking truckloads of pork for home districts, much of it for Bridge-to-Nowhere projects, Bush has suddenly decided--the day before the Democrats take control--that earmarking is an outrage?

How convenient.

It's still a good idea to make it harder for lawmakers to slip costly goodies into bills. But when has Bush exhibited much concern for the inner workings of Congress? Whenever he's been asked about the Foley scandal or Tom DeLay's problems, the White House line has always been, that's a congressional matter.
I think narrative is the key here. Not only does this approach gloss over the failings of the Republican Congress, but it also reinforces the "tax-and-spend liberals" meme. Republicans didn't need controls on their spending, because they're Fiscally Disciplined Small-Government Grown-Ups who would only spend your hard-earned tax dollars on inportant things like fighting Terror or stimulating the economy. Democrats, on the other hand, are like spoiled little children who want to spend money on every shiny little trinket dangled in front of them, and must be reined in by their Wise Daddy. To admit that Republicans are the ones throwing money away would blow this story all to hell.

The Bad:
I'm not linking to this Glenn Reynolds post because he mentions me saying that many journalists now admit they misjudged Jerry Ford three decades ago. (Well, maybe a little.) But he makes a point that is starting to get some online traction:

"They said nice things about Reagan after he died, too, despite hating him in office, and they're already gearing up to do the same thing with George H.W. Bush, who was treated quite unfairly during his term. It's as if the only good Republican President is a dead Republican President."
Aarrgghh. The stupid, it burns me.

The Ugly:
(I can't really blame Howie for this, he's just the messenger)
Finally, I got an NBC press release about Matt Lauer's 10th anniversary that contained this sentence:
"On Friday, 'Today' will take a look back at the highlights of Lauer's ten-year career as co-anchor including his big-name, newsmaker interviews with President George W. Bush, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Amber Frey."

Amber Frey? Scott Peterson's ex-mistress? Does she really belong in such august company?
Oy.

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