CF reader asks WashPost's Kurtz about paper's claim that "the public" would blame Obama for AIG bonuses

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

The beauty of the Internet: we say it here and comes out there.

Last week we were very critical of an A1 Post story that declared without the slightest bit of evidence that "the public" was abandoning the Obama White House over the unfolding bonus scandal. This week during his weekly online chat with readers, Kurtz was asked about the article from a questioner who used our CF post as the premise.

Kurtz defending the Post article by saying he "didn't think the piece was opinionated."

Hmm, Let's take a look:

President Obama's apparent inability to block executive bonuses at insurance giant AIG has dealt a sharp blow to his young administration and is threatening to derail both public and congressional support for his ambitious political agenda.

Post proof in the article that the AIG story was "threatening" to derail Obama's entire agenda? Proof as in quotes from independent experts, telling anecdotes, or polling data? None.

The populist anger at the executives who ran their firms into the ground is increasingly blowing back on Obama, whom aides yesterday described as having little recourse in the face of legal contracts that guaranteed those bonuses.

Post proof in the article that the AIG was "blowing back" on Obama? None.

Obama himself sought to channel the public's sense of disbelief yesterday.

Post proof in the article that Obama was simply trying to "channel" disbelief, rather than expressing his own actual disbelief? None.

But the bonus issue, in particular, is hounding Obama as he pursues his larger goals, in part because of the president's own repeated declarations of outrage -- offered again yesterday -- aimed especially at the firms that are feeding at the public trough.

Post proof in the article that the AIG issue was "hounding" Obama? None.

Post reporters last week knew exactly the tale they wanted to tell. The problem was they didn't even go through the normal motions of assembling quasi-evidence to back it up. Instead they wrote a news story that simply expressed how they felt the AIG story was playing; how they thought the "public" would react.

The Post's online reader was right: the piece belonged on the opinion pages.

UPDATE: Actual polling data now exists and we know the press was dead wrong when it claimed the public was blaming Obama. Not even close.

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