Watchdog Blog

Archive for July, 2011

Herb Strentz: Linus and the Iowa GOP Straw Poll

DES MOINES—Like Linus, who each Halloween prophesied the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, the political press every four years heralds the arrival of the Iowa Straw Poll. Linus proclaimed, “Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Somebody Tell Boehner What ‘Rebuttal’ Means

Notice how House Speaker John Boehner turned a deaf ear to the president in his so-called rebuttal to Obama’s July 25 address on the debt ceiling? If you hadn’t noticed, you have plenty of company. The press evidently wasn’t paying attention either. In his talk, Obama took a hard crack at the GOP for not [...]

Myra MacPherson: Somebody Please Tag the Next Pol Who Says, ‘Kick the Can’

“Kick the can down the road.” Is everyone tired of this latest in political speak? Nearly every TV anchor, reporter or pundit uses it with the solemnity of pure gospel, threatening to replace in sheer repetitive annoyance the “mushroom cloud” of Bush the second’s reign during WMD debates. From President Obama on down it is [...]

Barry Sussman: Am I the Only One Who Heard Obama Say He’d Go It Alone?

Somebody’s missing something in the grueling debt-limit debate; maybe it’s me. On the other hand, maybe it’s not. I heard and saw President Obama say on July 22nd that he would go it alone to raise the debt ceiling if need be – and in my view that should have put an end to concern [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Time for Murdoch to Fire Himself

A bizarre sideshow to the hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. was on exhibit July 18 when the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal weighed in with an editorial – hold onto your seats – backing the News Corp! The Journal lashed out venomously at ProPublica, the non-profit news organization specializing in investigative journalism, awarding it [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: A Good Moment to Examine Murdoch’s Tactics and Ethics

No, Rupert Murdoch did not personally hack into anyone’s electronic messages. And if anyone sought his OK he might well have vetoed it as too risky. But Murdoch created the sleazy work environment that made hacking seem like a dandy idea to some of his editors. For that, Murdoch deserves all the brickbats he has [...]

Myra MacPherson: The Fabulous Ford — Betty, That Is

The media have been rightly laudatory about Betty Ford, who died at 93. Her candor and her caring were extolled by many. She was the accidental First Lady, standing in stunned insecurity as her husband took the oath of office when Nixon resigned. Sometimes the exploitation of political wives can be difficult for them, to [...]

Herb Strentz: If Bachmann loses Iowa after All This…

DES MOINES—Here in the heartland, much of the news coverage and commentary about the Iowa caucuses remains doggedly oblivious to the fact that their outcome will be determined by the religious right, which is at the controls of the Iowa Republican Party. Indeed, about the only ones who routinely acknowledge the dominance of the religious [...]

Myra MacPherson: Grumbling in Europe? Hard Times? Tell It to Sweeney.

From Dublin to Lisbon, London to Paris the newspapers and television were filled with grumblings about bailing out Greece, of course. Parisian disgust with Sarkozy was as common as croissants for breakfast, economic downtrends were predicted everywhere. Obama, once a shining leader, was relegated to the back pages. But where was the doom and gloom? [...]

Barry Sussman: A Boy, 5, Shoots His Friend, 4. Ho-hum

Last fall and winter the Washington Post ran as good an assortment of articles on guns, gun control, assault weapons, the NRA, gun shops, tracing guns, guns on the Mexican border, police-killer guns – you name it – as I have ever seen. In addition to strong reporting by distinguished reporters, it had videos, documents, [...]