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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yellow Journalism
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

The The L.A. Times has a story up that deserves to live forever in the archive of infamous wankery:

Obama dares Republicans to block his coming jobs package

The president, visiting the Midwest, pledges to send Congress a plan in September and challenges Republicans to block it. Not all Democrats are comfortable with his hard-line stance.

After pledging to send a job-creation package to Congress next month and daring Republicans to block it, President Obama offered few specifics Tuesday about the form the plan might take as he stuck to a broad outline of how to improve the economy.

On the second day of Obama's three-day bus tour of the upper Midwest, the president worked off the blueprint he had used the day before, offering proposals such as extending a payroll tax cut, spending money to repair roads and bridges, and ratifying pending trade agreements.

And he continued to hammer away at Republicans in Congress, suggesting they stand in the way of economic growth, even as some Democrats expressed discomfort with what they saw as a potentially divisive stance.
So President Obama is pushing a jobs program with few concrete details beyond minor infrastructure repair (an idea that used to be uncontroversial and bipartisan, but is now seen as socialist), more tax cuts (an idea that used to be conservative, but is now seen as bipartisan even as we consider slashing social security to tackle deficits), and more "free trade" agreements (an idea that is definitely bipartisan, and definitely hurts American workers.)

So it's essentially a Washington Consensus approved, very safe, and in fact fairly conservative set of policies. But at least the President is going on offense talking about jobs, right? So which Democrats are standing up against this "partisan" push?

Congressional Democrats and former administration officials gave a mixed review of Obama's declaration. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) welcomed the president's feistier tone.

"I heard more of that approach yesterday than I've heard in a while, and I think it's very important," she said in an interview. "He needs to say now, 'I've tried it your way, and now we have to create an aggressive approach to creating jobs.' "

But one Senate Democrat, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the White House, was troubled by the president's gambit.

Voters are tired of the partisan back-and-forth and it would be a mistake for Obama to present Congress with a large-scale, high-stakes jobs bill and challenge them to pass it, the senator said. A more sensible approach would be for Obama to roll out a series of smaller proposals, the senator said, adding that the public "has very little patience for anything that looks like you're beating up on the other side."

Jared Bernstein, a former economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, said it was futile for Obama to try to accommodate Republicans determined to block the White House agenda. "If the president frames his jobs agenda based on what Republicans will accept, I don't think he's going to end up with much," he said. "He has to prescribe what he and his team believes the country needs and fight for it."

One. Anonymous. Senate. Democrat.

Let's be clear: the President adopts an uncontroversial set of meager jobs policies--some of which, like free trade agreements, will actually help American corporations at the expense of American jobs--that barely even qualify as Keynesian. He does this during a period of threatened double-dip recession and stubborn unemployment.

House Democrats and economists breathe a sigh of relief that the President finally at least appears to be willing to fight for something. One anonymous fool in the Senate wets his or her pants at the awful partisanship of it all.

And the L.A. Times runs a "Democrats Divided Over Obama's Aggressive Rhetoric" story.

The country would be better off with no newspapers at all, than with newspapers that report stories like this. We might as well just each let side tell its own story and let the chips fall where they may. The experiment in a supposedly "objective" media is an utter failure that has done untold damage to the country.