Sunday, November 11, 2007

More on the WPost Democrats and climate change story

I was going to make this an update to my previous post on this Washington Post article and its false choices but there's another angle to this.

First, Talking Points Memo noticed how awful this article was:
A few days ago, The Washington Post ran a long front-page story that carried this frightful headline:
Climate Is a Risky Issue for Democrats

There was zero polling data in the piece to support this claim. As Matthew Yglesias noted, the basis for it appeared to be little more than the "time honored principled Everything is Bad News for Democrats."
TPM links to a Politico story on a poll, conducted by a Republican pollster, which suggests the opposite, its bad for Republicans to ignore the issue and not propose solutions. Republicans need to do something. TPM concludes:
Yet despite the fact that lots of Republicans have reached this conclusion, somehow The Washington Post was only able to discover that this is a risky issue for Democrats. This illustrates once again that the default setting for many in the political media is still that Dems are always vulnerable; Dems are always at risk of getting too far ahead of public opinion; and Dems are always at risk of provoking a backlash from the same public that strongly agrees with them.

It'll be interesting to see if WaPo revisits this issue, now that we have some actual empirical evidence to shed light on the topic the paper reported so extensively on. Somehow one doubts that WaPo will call up Ayres and ask him what gives.
I'm not holding my breath.

The Columbia Journalism Review treated this article more seriously then it deserves. But I thought this passage said a lot:
Indeed, energy and the environment have been a source of strength for the Democrats in particular....The concern that the public may react unfavorably to a strong pro-environment platform in the general election is a fairly novel idea for news pages, and Post writer Juliet Eilperin makes the case that it’s legitimate.
"Makes the case". Think about that for a minute. Its not reporting that Eilperin is doing. She's trying to persuade her readers to believe something that simply isn't true. Making a case.

This is almost "swift boating". Here's the WPost taking a Democratic strength, the environment, and saying, with no support at all, just conjecture, that its a weakness for the candidates. I predict the next step in this will be a story which talks about how "reasonable" and "sensible" the Republican candidates plans are. Lets hope this particular brand of "kick the Democrats" that the beltway media loves to play stops here.

No comments: