• The Hill fumbled Jesse Jackson Jr.'s "racialized" comment

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    It was made in the context of the unfolding Blago/Burris controversy. Jackson, who had been considered by Blago as a possible candidate to fill Barack Obama's senate seat, told CNN that it would be unfortunate if the issue of whether to seat Burris or not became "racialized."

    The Hill reported it this way:

    "The longer this process takes the more racialized this seat becomes and the more difficult it becomes for Democrats to hold it in 2010," Jackson, a onetime candidate for the seat, told CNN.

    From that, The Hill made this rather sweeping, and damning, generalization about Democrats [emphasis added]:

    Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D) warned Tuesday that Senate Democrats risk alienating black voters by refusing to seat Roland Burris, creating racial tension that could result in the party losing the Illinois Senate seat in 2010.

    Is that really what Jackson claimed, that Democrats would alienate black voters? That's not how I read Jackson's somewhat amorphous CNN quote and I'm not sure how The Hill came to that conclusion. Because that same day Jackson also spoke to Politico about the Burris situation and seemed to making the opposite point from what The Hill claimed:

    But [Jackson] said that use of the race card by Burris' supporters hurts Democrats' chances for holding the seat in 2010. "A racialized Senate seat is not something that the people of Illinois want," Jackson said. "They want people to speak to their concerns and the genuine economic hardships they confront. So the racialization of Senate seat is going to be a profound problem for Democrats," he said.

  • Politico, please define "foreign policy observers"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    In an article that portrays Vice President-elect Joe Biden as a goof (gee, where have we seen that unflattering meme before?) the Politico plays dumb and pretends it's very weird and bizarre that Biden is going on an overseas trip as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and before he's sworn in as vice president. Politico suggests the world leaders Biden meets with will be wildly confused by his presence.

    Pretty thin gruel for a news story, which was highlighted by Politico's lame attempt to back up the non-story by claiming "foreign policy observers" are equally confused about Biden's trip.

    Question: Who were the only two "foreign policy observers" Politco quoted for the anti-Biden article?

    Answer: Two right-wing, partisan think tank employees.

    One from the conservative American Enterprise Institute and another from the even more conservative Heritage Foundation. That's who Politico dialed up to get insightful, independent quotes about the Democratic VP.

  • Minnesota judge schools WSJ editorial page

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    It came in response to the Journal's rather hysterical, Franken's-stealing-the-election editorial.

    Wrote Judge Edward J. Cleary:

    One can only assume, based on the tone of the editorial, the numerous inaccuracies, and the over-the-top slam at Al Franken ("tainted and undeserving?") that had [Republican] Norm Coleman come out on top in this recount, the members of the Board would have been praised as "strong-willed, intelligent, and perceptive."

    We won't hold our breath waiting for that editorial to appear.

    (h/t Steven Benen.)

  • Oh. Never mind...

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Newsbusters' Kerry Picket tries to suggest that Leon Panetta is a poor choice to head the CIA due to his alleged involvement in "Filegate," one of many 1990s non-scandals relentlessly hyped by the news media (eagerly cheered on by conservative activists like those at the Media Research Center.) But her case contains a slight flaw: Leon Panetta didn't have anything to do with "Filegate."

    Picket blasts Panetta's "pathetic excuses in 1996 over why several hundred FBI background reports on American citizens were obtained by Craig Livingston." Panetta apologized for the mistake, calling it "inexcusable" and "a completely honest bureaucratic snafu." Picket angrily denounces that as a "pathetic" and "lame" excuse.

    Unfortunately for Picket's case against Panetta, his comments were true. Republican congressional committees and independent counsels (remember Ken Starr?) joined the media in investigating "Filegate," finding that, sure enough, it was an honest mistake.

    Picket indignantly concludes:

    [WaPo columnist David] Igantius may think a political heavyweight like Panetta will benefit the CIA and the Obama administration, but he fails to mention how Americans can count on Panetta to keep the nation safe.

    Bureaucratic blunder or not confidential information was compromised, nonetheless. We are living in a post 9/11 world now. Is this the kind of leadership America really wants in a CIA chief?

    Picket apparently doesn't realize that Panetta wasn't White House chief of staff when Craig Livingstone was hired, or when the files were obtained. He was chief of staff in 1996, when the investigations began, which is why he commented on them.

    So, to sum up: Leon Panetta wasn't responsible for "Filegate," in which no laws were broken. As a result, Newsbusters' Kerry Picket thinks we can't count on Panetta to keep the nation safe. Got it?

  • Tucker Carlson, wrong again

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    There's a reason why nobody ever mistook Tucker Carlson for a "policy wonk," even when he was still wearing the bow tie. Here he is making a fool of himself during a online discussion:

    Harrisburg, Pa.: I wish to please ask a question to Mr. Carlson (and Ms. Cox is free to also respond.). I saw you on MSNBC and I agree that a national health care system will increase government spending. Yet, how much would it increase costs to consumers? Are there national health insurance plans that could reduce costs to consumers, especially if, to be candid, government inefficiency can be found to be less costly that current health care administrative costs?

    Tucker Carlson: With all respect, you've answered your own question: Increased government spending amouunts to an increased cost to consumers, since in the end consumers are the only source of government revenue.

    Carlson doesn't seem to understand that "increased government spending" does not amount to "increased cost to consumers" if it replaces a larger amount of money that the consumers were already spending.

    This really isn't all that complicated. Maybe the Post should consider replacing Carlson with someone who has some idea what he is talking about?