Watchdog Blog

Archive for December, 2011

Herb Strentz: Will there be Iowa Democratic Caucuses Also? Yes, Teeny Ones.

DES MOINES – A friend in California asked about the ballyhooed Iowa Republican caucuses: “What do Democrats do on Tuesday?” A reasonable question. My answer: At my precinct more than 300 Democrats showed up for voting in the 2008 caucuses. In 2010 as I remember it, about a dozen were there, including several kids getting [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: The Underside of the Iowa Caucuses (One of Them, Anyway)

Mark Shields and David Brooks agreed the other evening on the PBS Newshour that the country was indebted to well-educated Iowans for their splendid show of citizenship in conscientiously attending campaign events and subjecting candidates to informed questioning. Shields and Brooks didn’t happen to wonder where these wonderful, public spirited, Iowans are when the caucuses [...]

Herb Strentz: Looking for Obama to Win the Iowa Caucuses, Again

Two names come to mind when one considers who will win and who will lose in the Iowa GOP caucuses Tuesday, Jan. 3. That’s when Republican party faithful will gather at 1,744 precincts across the state, ending the three or four years of political maneuvering that lead to the kickoff of the 2012 presidential campaign. [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: In Iowa, a Bitter Clash over Vivid Writing

As night follows day, Iowa’s precinct caucuses bring in their wake a raft of features about hard-working productive Iowa and its salt-of-the-earth citizens who welcome candidates into their homes with perceptive questions and thoughtful comments about affairs of the day. Perhaps as an antidote to such pap, University of Iowa journalism professor Stephen Bloom recently [...]

Dan Froomkin: What Politifact Should Do Now

Yesterday, I sent an email to Politifact editor Bill Adair, expressing my horror over his group’s decision to designate “Republicans voted to kill Medicare” as the “lie of the year.” (See, for an exegesis of that misbegotten choice, Steve Benen, Paul Krugman, Jamison Foser, Charles Pierce, Jason Linkins, et. al.) “Take it back quickly and [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: John A. One-Note Boehner

“The House Republican leader on Sunday flatly rejected a short-term, bipartisan Senate measure to extend a payroll tax break and unemployment insurance, setting the stage for a bitter year-end collision and the potential loss of benefits for millions of Americans. “In an interview on ’Meet the Press on NBC, John A. Boehner, the House speaker…..” [...]

Myra MacPherson: The Real Newt Gingrich Is Only an Archive Search Away

(Myra MacPherson profiled Newt Gingrich for the Washington Post’s Style section in 1989.) Reporters, listen up: Stop calling Newt Gingrich a “scholar.” In fact, spend some time learning about his real history. Yes, Gingrich calls himself a “historian,” but there was a time when reporters went to the clips to check things like that. Now, [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: The Iraq War, Colin Powell, and the Press

No retrospective on the Iraq war would be complete without reference to the part played by Colin Powell in convincing the country to go to war. Public opinion about the war was lukewarm until Powell spoke at the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003. He gave such a boffo performance, complete with convincing visual aids, [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Will Grandpa Get it?

On Dec. 4, the New York Times, in a 13-paragraph editorial, took an in-depth look at the prospect of changes for Medicare. “What about Premium Support?” the editorial asked and proceeded to raise key questions about the term being touted by those who would drastically change, if not scrap, Medicare. Among the questions addressed by [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Debate Sponsors Flunk Fairness Test

Another debate, another round of Obama bashing. The audience barely had settled in their seats Dec. 10 when Newt Gingrich excoriated Obama for a jobs plan consisting of “higher taxes, more regulation, no American energy, and attack(ing) people who create jobs with class warfare.” I counted at least 25 separate assaults on Obama or his [...]