Pretty much all you need to know about the current negligent media culture in Washington is summed up in two items involving the Politico's home page this morning -- one which is there, and one which isn't.
The featured story at top of the home page by Byron Tau is about infighting between "Big Marijuana" -- it seems like "Big Pot" would be a more succinct nickname -- and those who want to extend recent electoral victories in legalizing the drug. What isn't there on the home page, as confirmed in a word search, is any story with a headline or tease containing "IRS."
I guess Byron Tau thought he had to make it look like Big Labor is really, really mad at President Barack Obama and the White House so he could make Obama look like he's a moderate on economic and fiscal issues. Thus his Sunday morning post's headline: "Labor targets Obama over proposed benefit cuts."
Of course, they aren't "cuts" at all, though they are being portrayed as such. All Obama has done, according to information which appears to have been conveniently leaked (perhaps in hopes of killing the idea) to the New York Times ahead of his very late President's Budget, is "propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said." Despite the weakly descriptive language at the Times, monthly Social Security and other checks would continue to increase under the proposal each year inflation occurs -- just not by as much.
Does the Politico do so little noteworthy original work that it has to make it appear as if it's taking credit for stories it didn't break? It sure looks like it from here.
In a story about President Obama's Organizing For Action organization, the not-for-profit lobbying result after Obama and those running the presidential campaign's Organizing For America chose to become a permanent fixture, Politico's Byron Tau predictably whitewashed the seriousness of OFA's violation of IRS rules against partisan political activity in allowing a supporter of Democrat Terry McAuliffe to recruit signature gatherers for his gubernatorial campaign. Tau also acted as if his web site had gotten the story either first or at the same time as a competitor when he wrote in his second paragraph that "OFA removed the post after it was flagged by POLITICO and the Weekly Standard." Then, in the final sentence of his 11-paragraph entry -- one I guess he hopes nobody will read -- Tau wrote:
This morning the Obama administration's "National Economic Council & Council of Economic Advisers" jointly released "The Middle-Class Tax Cuts' Impact on Consumer Spending & Retailers." Among the howlers in this non-economic political document: "Independent Economic Analysis Clearly Demonstrates Why We Need to Extend the 2001/2003/2010 Tax Cuts for the Middle-class." But not everyone else? Don't high income-earners spend money too?
The primary thrust of the administration's release is that, in regards to negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff," is the predictable class warfare clarion call, complete with kidnapping-related rhetoric: "There is no reason to hold the middle-class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the highest income earners." The word "hostage" appears three times in the first two pages of the document. The subtext, of course, is that the hostage-holders are the Republicans in Congress, particularly the House of Representatives. At the Politico, Byron Tau ignored this classless, tasteless partisan tack by supposed professionals:
If you have tickets for the Democratic National Convention and wanted to see President Barack Obama deliver his acceptance speech this Thursday at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium, you’ll be greatly disappointed. Despite the official excuse of severe weather -- forecasters put the chance of storms at 20-30 percent -- the change in venue really seems to be because Obama campaign officials fear they can't fill the 74,000-seat stadium.
Reporting that, of course, is unfathomable for the lapdog broadcast media, but some print and online reporters are skeptical.
"A number of local chapters of the National Organization for Women are denouncing the DNC convention rules, saying that they unfairly exclude mothers with young children," Byron Tau of Politico reported on Monday morning, going on to quote feminist icon Gloria Steinem as complaining that "Women are the key to a Democratic victory, and sometimes, children are the key to women. It's both right and smart for the Democratic Convention to behave as if children exist."
Given their penchant for frequently featuring Politico reporters and for hyping the so-called war on women, it would be reasonable for MSNBC to pick up on the story. But alas, they have not, even though National Organization for Women president Terry O'Neill appeared on the Monday edition of the Ed Show and on today's MSNBC Live hosted by Thomas Roberts to discuss the Akin controversy.
A June 16-18 YouGov.com poll (at Page 25) reported that 47% of Americans in a sample of 1,000 U.S. citizens 18 and over had heard or heard about President Barack Obama's June 8 claim that "the private sector is doing fine."
The reaction of John Sides, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University, as picked up by Byron Tau at the Politico, is that this "low" percentage shows that "even after national headlines, some kinds of stories just don’t register to busy Americans who have more things to do than follow every jot and tittle of the news." You've got to be kidding me; 47% is amazingly high.