February 5, 2014

Every member of the media ought to be ashamed for their shameful coverage of the CBO report conclusions and how the Affordable Care Act affects jobs. In a world that cares about nothing but the next "gotcha!", they're far more interested in defending the lousy coverage that resulted when they took their stories from GOP press releases -- instead of actually reading the report.

Chris Cillizza doesn't even bother to apologize for the media's lift of right-wing talking points. No, instead he defends and justifies it with this:

Now, I can already hear people saying some version of this: "It's your job in the media to INFORM people. To tell them what's right and what's wrong. To cut through the clutter." Absolutely true. And that's why I included the actual language from the CBO report in my initial post and why I think Glenn's post is so valuable. But, I would say to those critics: You overestimate the media's ability to (a) cut through the clutter or (b) change peoples' minds about what's true and what's not. As I noted above, people, largely, believe what they want to believe. And that's even more true in a siloed media world where conservatives read, listen to and watch content that affirms their beliefs and liberals do the same.

My job is to assess not the rightness of each argument but to deal in the real world of campaign politics in which perception often (if not always) trumps reality. I deal in the world as voters believe it is, not as I (or anyone else) thinks it should be.

Well, alrighty then!

Cillizza goes on to cite two Democratic operatives who appear to work for Senators who also didn't bother to read the actual report before reacting. That he uses their remarks to justify his claim that this CBO report is a giant gift to Republicans proves his own laziness.

Reporting on policy and the politics that surrounds it demands more from journalists than squawking the first set of talking points that hits their inbox. If any one of the journalists had actually bothered to read the real words in the report, they would have understood that the specific 'hair on fire' language touted by Republicans was a feature and not a bug.

One of the goals of the ACA was to break job lock. It's working.

If we can't rely on the media to operate independently of political operatives and actually focus on policy, who should fill that role, Chris?

Cillizza concludes with this:

Politics is about perception and confirming or debunking deeply held beliefs (whether or not those beliefs are factually based). Understood through that lens, the CBO report remains a gift to GOP campaign strategists already gleeful about the possibility of making the 2014 midterms a referendum on the Affordable Care Act.

It's only a gift if the lie is allowed to stand. Media's job is NOT to deal in the real world of campaign politics at all. That's what lots of consultants get paid to do. Media's job is to report on the FACTS and cut through the spin.

However, it's good to know that Cillizza and his pals at the Washington Post can be ignored. Because any idiot can read the politics of a thing (and any idiot just did).

It takes a little more work to dig down past the politics into the actual policy. And facts.

Update: More from NoMoreMisterNiceBlog:

Democrats are losers. Republicans are liars. And the press just laughs every time Republicans kick the Democrats' asses.

Democracy can't survive under those conditions.

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