AP Brands GOP Opposition as Built on 'Buzz Words'

The Associated Press posted an "analysis" piece by writer Tom Raum on June 15 to address the GOP strategy against Obamacare and other administration policies but the APs characterization of the GOPs efforts almost seem meant to belittle and de-legitimize that opposition as opposed to describing it. The entire GOP argument against Obama is boiled down to a use of "buzz words" as far as AP's Raum is concerned. Apparently, no political truth or ideological disagreement really enters into it. Only "tactic," and "strategy" built on "buzz words" and "fear" is offered by the GOP instead of real issues according to the AP.

In "GOP using buzz words to taunt Democrats," with a subhead of "Republicans claim Obama embraces 'socialism,'" Raum never once admits that Republicans just might have a principled ideological opposition to Obama's policies leaving readers to get the vague feeling that the GOP is trying just anything to find a winning issue. Further, the entire article is premised as if the Democrats are correct and the GOP is just trying to chip away at their essentially correct stand on the issues. AP even presents a lefty professor to shore up the AP point of view -- naturally the professor's propensities are not divulged.

Here is the first paragraph that sets up the flavor of the piece:

Republicans are honing an attack line against President Barack Obama in an attempt to play on Americans' fears of government overreach and economic uncertainties, suggesting he is nationalizing American industry and socializing medicine.

Notice how Raum is telling his readers that the GOP is basing its attack on "American's fears"? Apparently, Raum rejects out of hand any possibility that Obama really IS overreaching, that his nationalizing of industry after industry couldn't be anything more than the "help" that Obama claims it is. And it is just a "suggestion" by the GOP that Obama is heading down a Euro-socialist road. It must not really be happening, but the GOP is only trying to make Americans afraid it is.

Raum uses other tactics to cast Republican efforts into ill-repute. Throughout the piece, for instance, Raum places the word socialism in scare quotes as if scoffing that any real socialism is in the offing from the Obama administration. For instance:

Outnumbered, Republicans are working hard to tap into negative public attitudes toward "socialism" and taxpayer bailouts.

Then Raum tries to defeat the Republican's efforts with his own points:

No matter that the bailouts and nationalizations were begun under the Republican administration of George W. Bush. Or that the word "socialism" may not evoke the same degree of alarm among the public it once did, especially among younger voters.

Apparently, Raum is trying to promulgate the notion that "Republicans" were all just fine when Bush started the bailout ball rolling in 2008. Of course, any review of the record would show that many Republican lawmakers were opposed to Bush's bailout ideas, too. Many more went along only begrudgingly. On top of that, talk radio railed against Bush's bailout plans. So, no, Mr. Raum, the GOP was not all for Bush's bailouts making today's opposition to the same under Obama seem hypocritical.

Then we get another jab at GOP "strategy" by Raum:

Republicans have been doubling down on the strategy -- used in the 2008 national election campaigns -- that Democrats in general and Obama in particular are seeking to vastly expand government control over Americans' lives.

Translation: Hey reader, they failed in 2008 with this strategy, remember?

Then, helpfully, we get Obama's rebuttal:

Obama ridicules the notion that he favors a step toward European-style socialism. "Nobody is talking about doing that, all right?" he said at a recent town-hall meeting.

However, Raum fails to show that Obama's claim that "nobody is talking" about turning the U.S. into Euro-lite is not really the truth. Because, in reality, many are. On the Healthcare issue, for instance, groups such as the California Nurses Association, and Open Left most absolutely ARE talking about a socialist, single payer healthcare system. Calls for a socialist system are heard throughout the left for our healthcare system even by some in government. Illinois Representative Jan Schakowsky is a proponent of a socialist system, and so have been some recent congressional candidates for the Democratic Party. So, there are plenty of "no bodies" talking about turning the U.S. towards socialist practices, Mr. President and Mr. Tom Raum.

But, does Raum point this out? Does he reveal that this Obama claim that "nobody" is talking like this is a sham? Does Raum inform his readers that these "fears" of socialism are actually founded in the outright claims of wanting it by the GOPs opponents? Nope. Raum acts as if this is all just Republican "strategies" and talking points based on "fear" and "tactics." Raum does not give his readers any clue that there is any basis for the GOPs efforts leading the reader to assume they are baseless attacks made purely for political reasons.

And then we get the lefty professor presented as an expert:

Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University, said Republicans may be misreading how their evocations of "socialism" will resonate with the public.

"I really don't think fear of socialism is gripping Americans by the throat," Baker said. "I think there's a feeling in some ways that the government was asleep at the switch for the past eight years. I think people see steps taken by Obama as a healthy compensation for that inactivity."

Does Raum mention that Ross Baker was once a member of the Brookings Institute, the most famous liberal think-tank in America? Do we find out that Baker served on the staffs of some of the most famous liberals in Congress (such as Walter Mondale and Patrick Leahy)? Oops. Those facts seems to have been lost in translation while Baker was being presented as some sort of disinterested observer from academe.

As opposed to "analysis," this AP report seems more like advocacy as both sides of the issue are not given a well researched presentation at all.