When a news story is too newsworthy to ignore but too embarrassing to the Obama administration to highlight, what's a liberal newspaper editor to do? Why, bury it, of course. That's what Washington Post editors did to Steven Mufson's February 14 story on an inspector general's report finding, surprise, surprise, that taxpayer monies on another Obama-hyped green energy project have gone to waste.
What's more, the Post's editor's assigned the item a boring headline, "Report: Grant to battery company was mismanaged."
Coal miners in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Virginia are losing their jobs in part because of onerous federal regulations. But news of fresh layoffs by Alpha Natural Resources was shuttled to page A16 by Washington Post editors.
According to Post staffer Steve Mufson, Alpha Natural Resources will lay off 160 mineworkers and abandon eight mines in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia this week. Alpha is “the largest coal producer by revenue and third-largest in production.” Talk about President Obama being on the side of workers.
Poor Steven Chu. The Nobel Prize-winning scientist and Obama's Energy Secretary stands "at [the] center of [the] Solyndra policy storm," where he's learning "lessons in political science" according to Washington Post staffer Steven Mufson's 45-paragraph front-page article in the October 28 paper.
Although the Post has done a decent job thus far in following the Solyndra scandal and reporting on the unfolding revelations of damning emails from administration officials who questioned the wisdom and legality of the Solyndra loan, Mufson's piece was focused on defending Chu as a well-meaning career scientist and political neophyte who's been caught up in an unfortunate political firestorm (emphases mine):
Big bad oil company ExxonMobil is "on the defensive in the face of consumer ire and congressional indignation" as it raked in a "huge" first quarter profit, Washington Post's Steven Mufson informed readers of his front page May 2 article.
Mufson later noted that "[d]espite Exxon's colossal profit, the company's stock fell yesterday." Mufson blamed investors "shift[ing] gears" to turn to other stocks and pull out of commodities. Yet Mufson made no attempt to explore how "new congressional vows to come up with legislation" to tax oil company profits might play into investors being skittish about the company, a favored bogeyman of left-wing populist politicians in election years marked by high gasoline prices.
By contrast, the May 2 Financial Times took a less political, business-oriented look at ExxonMobil with a front-pager by Sheila McNulty and Carola Hoyos entitled, "Exxon oil production struggles for growth":
Friday's Washington Post displayed that annoying trend of hyping already high gas prices with a photograph of astronomical gas prices. As reporter Steven Mufson reported that AAA marked that regular gasoline price at $3.36 a gallon, a photograph right next to it online (and on an inside page in the paper) displayed a gas station sign marking the regular price as $4.19. Mufson explained the prices this way:
On the eve of the summer driving season, crude prices defy gravity, hovering around $110 a barrel, keeping gasoline prices at record levels and sapping money from cash-strapped consumers. Yesterday, the AAA auto club said prices at the pump set records of $3.357 a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline and $4.045 for diesel, even though U.S. gasoline consumption fell 0.6 percent in the first quarter.
That could make oil prices a politically volatile issue this year among voters who think prices are excessive and are looking for someone to blame.
In other words, the oil companies could be a big target this year of Democrats. Mufson began the piece:
“In Heat of Battle, Darman Put Taxes Back on the Table,” read the Saturday “Business” section headline over the “appreciation” piece, by veteran Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson, on the legacy of Richard Darman, the budget director who in 1990 arranged the deal which undermined George Bush's “read my lips: no new taxes” pledge. Darman passed away Friday, at age 64, after battling leukemia. Mufson hailed how Darman's deal, “along with the first Clinton budget...balanced the federal government's books for a decade,” and empathized with how Darman had confronted “the dilemma of contemporary U.S. politics: Republicans have taken taxes off the fiscal table, no matter how sensible they might be.”
Mufson, who currently covers energy for the Post but back in 1990 covered economic policy, presumed the Reagan tax cuts of nine years earlier caused a “budget mess” which had to be fixed in 1990, asserting that “many people thought it was fitting that Darman was at the center of these talks because of his role in drafting the big 1981 Reagan tax cuts.” Mufson quoted David Stockman, the infamous Reagan back-stabber, as quoting Darman: “I don't know which is worse, winning now and fixing up the budget mess later, or losing now and facing a political mess immediately.” But the “fixing” didn't occur for a decade, leading Mufson to postulate:
That summed up not only the Darman dilemma but also the dilemma of contemporary U.S. politics: Republicans have taken taxes off the fiscal table, no matter how sensible they might be. That makes compromise difficult and it could be bad policy, too. In addition to raising revenue, the small gasoline tax increase that conservative Republicans were able to purge from the final 1990 deal "might have been good energy and environmental policy," Darman said in a talk last March.
Washington Post staffers Jonathan Weisman and Steven Mufson gaver readers of the December 7 paper an article on a "comprehensive energy bill" that passed the House of Representatives without delving into Republican criticism that the bill lacks any provision to produce or procure more energy domestically, such as from interior and off-shore natural gas and oil reserves.
Weisman and Mufson noted in the lede that the bill will raise "fuel-efficiency standards" and "require increased use of renewable energy sources" and later quickly dispatched with Republican opposition by finely chopping Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner's (R-Ohio) criticism:
Even House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) -- who assails the measure as a "no-energy" bill and as a tax increase that would raise, not lower, energy costs -- lauded the CAFE (corporate average fuel efficiency) standards as a good and reasonable compromise.
Oh really? On it's "Online Newshour" Web page, PBS -- hardly a right-wing news venue -- gave readers more of Boehner's critical quote:
Within his article, Mufson brought in advertising critic and NPR host who injected his own political beliefs about oil companies like Chevron (emphasis mine):
"What these ads, like all oil company ads, do is accentuate the positive and don't mention the venality, the environmental impact and overarching greed that is at the bottom of their businesses," said Bob Garfield, a TV ad critic for Advertising Age.