A recurring theme at the Los Angeles Times during the past several days has been that the nation's economic and fiscal circumstances really aren't all that bad, and they're getting better under Dear Leader Obama. (Oh, and throw in a healthy dose of "It's Bush's fault" for good measure.)
Lisa Mascaro, with the help of Brian Bennett, David Lauter and Michael A. Memoli, added to that effort late Saturday afternoon. In an item primarily about the politics of the Washington's next scheduled fiscal standoff in mid-December, she did the usual spin on this year's budget deficit (writing that it has "declined rapidly," while conveniently forgetting that this year's shortfall will be higher than any non-Obama deficit in U.S. history). She also gave undue credence based on poor historical accuracy to Congressional Budget Office projections which claim that "the national debt ... is projected to be stable or even declining as a share of the economy well into the next decade." But she ventured beyond the careful but misleading realm of the previous two statements into flat-out falsehood when she wrote: "The country is on a budget trajectory that, while substantially improved from the recent recession ..."
This week, the Los Angeles Times promoted assistant managing editor David Lauter to the title of Washington Bureau Chief of all eight Tribune newspapers -- not just the Times, but the Chicago Tribune. They announced "He will play a key role in our coverage of the 2012 presidential campaign, for which he is especially well qualified, having run The Times’ coverage of the 1996 campaign. Among David’s responsibilities will be to establish a sharp upward trajectory for our new political blog, Politics Now, helmed by Jim Oliphant and Mike Memoli."
Lauter's previous turn as a political reporter in Washington was marked by other liberal journalists as very sympathetic to Bill Clinton. As Jacob Weisberg wrote in 1993 (here's a time-machine paragraph):
In the September issue of Vanity Fair, New Republic writer Jacob Weisberg turned the tables on the White House press corps when he got a chance to look behind the scenes. Weisberg found a few young corps members who believe in Clinton and "form a tight subculture within the White House press corps." Members include: Mark Halperin of ABC, Matthew Cooper of U.S. News & World Report, David Lauter of the Los Angeles Times, Jeffrey Birnbaum of The Wall Street Journal, Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, and Adam Nagourney of USA Today. "Politically, they're all liberal and, despite the emotional wounds of the campaign, far more sympathetic to Clinton than the press corps as a whole."