Wednesday, January 21, 2004

USA Today, following in the footsteps of Melanie Ho

A welcome change: CJR Campaign Desk and Brad DeLong point out substantive reporting (no blue suits! no argyle sweaters!) by USA Today (if link rots, try BDL's post) reporting not only the content but also the context of Bush's State of the Union address.

It brings to mind this post from the Daily Howler last spring, Part 4 of A Culture Of Lying:

[On coverage of the first Bush-Gore debate - ] "One scribe noted what Bush had done. You could call it a senior moment...":
[DH:] At the crucial first debate with Gore, Bush lied about his budget plan, then accused Gore of using "phony numbers" and "fuzzy math" when he described the budget plan accurately. The next day, the fun really started, as Bush and aides toured the country, tossing off palpably bogus facts - and saying that they showed Gore was lying. It truly takes a low, slimy man to call the other guy a liar on the basis of "facts" which he’s simply made up.

...For the record, there was one journalist who spoke in real time:...she noted a nasty "irony" - an irony that would somehow elude the mainstream "press:"
Bush's attack on the vice president's mathematical calculations has a dual irony. First, Bush was using fuzzy math himself: While Bush accused his opponent of using "fuzzy math," the Republican candidate's own statistics were partisan-created rhetoric rather than substantiated facts.
We don't know of any other journalist who noted this basic point - who noted that Bush was accusing Gore of the very thing he, Bush, was doing. The journalist then laid out some basic problems with Bush's fake, phony "facts":
Gore was correct in his statement about Bush's budget figures..

...[facts snipped; go read her article or the Daily Howler post]

...Ignoring these facts, Bush argued that his tax cut for the wealthy was far less than his actual policies and plans demonstrate.
[the journalist?]
Why, it was Melanie Ho, a UCLA senior, writing in the Daily Bruin. While mainstream "journalists" cowered and quaked - and told the world what a liar Gore was - a college student was somehow able to note the "irony" in what Bush was doing. We’ve often asked if high school students could get away with work like the press corps'. In the fall of 2000, only Melanie Ho - a college student - had the courage to get this tale right.

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