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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fair and balanced

The NY Times has studiously avoided giving the Solyndra scandal much front page coverage; as scandals go, it is obviously of less national significance than the Duke lacrosse rape case, which garnered front page coverage for three weeks running (as long as it looked as if the players might be guilty). But the Times did run an editorial yesterday titled "The Solyndra Mess." The first two paragraphs: 

The Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee appear to have hit the pause button on their investigation into the failure of Solyndra, a solar panel maker that entered bankruptcy proceedings  in September, defaulting on a $528 million federal loan.

What have we learned? Nobody comes out of this looking good. Not the Obama administration, which appears to have misread the market in its eagerness to proclaim that it was creating green jobs. Not the Republicans, either, as their partisanship turned a legitimate inquiry into a circus of broad accusations aimed more at tarnishing the administration than contributing to a serious discussion of energy policy.

Ah, I see. Here all along I had thought that the Solyndra scandal was about how the administration had rewarded George Kaiser, a big time Obama campaign contributor who was a major investor in Solyndra. But no, it was just about the administration's eagerness to create (and take credit for) green jobs. Hey -- their intentions were good!

I had also naively thought that the scandal had only tarnished the Obama administration and, by extension, the Democrats. I couldn't have been more mistaken! Now I see that it has made the Republicans look equally bad, since rather than helping the Democrats sweep it under the rug, they instead used it to score partisan points. Bad, bad Republicans!

Please remind me, because my memory is fuzzy: the last time the Republicans were embroiled in a scandal, did the Times point out that it made the Democrats look bad as well since they tried to score partisan points off of it? Or did they just take delight in talking about the scandal? I'm sure they must have been just as even-handed then; I just can't remember, that's all.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

John, good post. It's all too easy to skewer the absurd bias of the NYT editorials and many (most?) of its opeds. I can't imagine though that in this day and age they amount to any more than preaching to the (small) choir. I'm a regular NYT reader - much of its reporting is of a high quality - but never waste time on the editorials.
G

John Craig said...

G --
Thanks. Yes, I didn't even say everything I could have about those two paragraphs. They basically said that the Republicans should have used the Solyndra scandal as a basis for a "serious discussion of energy policy." When was the last time that a scandal was used in that manner? Scandals are treated as scandals, period. This is why, as you say, that their choir has gotten so small. Only a true believer could take any of their editorials seriously.

John Craig said...

PS -- Yes, they do have some good reporting. But their politically correct biases infect the entire newspaper, not just the editorial section. I see it in the sports, business, and arts sections as well as their political reporting.

Anonymous said...

John, I don't have a longer term perspective on how US national media has evolved in the last 40 years and wonder whether you think that political polarization has lead the biases of the media or vice versa? IE in the supposed good old days of healthy bi-partisan compromise, was the press more polarized than Congress?
G

John Craig said...

G --
Very good question, and I'm not sure what the answer is. I do know that the NY Times has always been ridiculous. Back during Stalin's era, they had a reporter (Walter Duranty?) who went over to the USSR and actually bought the vision of their Potemkin villages they sold him. I also suspect that even though people talk about polarization more now, there has always been a pretty deep divide between left and right, it's just that it's talked about more openly now.