The Washington Post succumbs to fear!


Won’t tell the truth about Ryan: The New York Times did the right thing this morning, even though its execution was flawed.

Quite correctly, the Times did a stand-alone news report about the string of groaners in Paul Ryan’s convention address. In our hard-copy Times, the stand-alone report bore this perfectly accurate headline:

“Facts Took a Beating In Ryan’s Speech”

The Times deserves a lot of credit for taking this approach—and for writing that accurate headline. By way of contrast, consider what the Washington Post did in this morning’s paper.

The paper includes a Gene Robinson column, “Paul Ryan, Whopper King.” It includes Melinda Henneberger’s opinion column, “We are all fact checkers now, of necessity.”

(Henneberger offers this assessment of Ryan’s address: “As I listened to Paul Ryan, tweeting as I went, I couldn't remember ever hearing an acceptance speech so rich in untrue un-facts.” Our reaction exactly.)

The paper includes a Fact-Checker column on Ryan's address, although that’s a fairly standard presentation in the Washington Post.

If you bought today’s Washington Post, you would have seen two columns about Ryan’s misstatements, along with the Fact-Checker feature. You would not have seen a news report telling you that, as a matter of fact, Ryan said a bunch of things which just weren’t especially true.

The New York Times correctly judged that the degree of dissembling in Ryan’s speech rated a stand-alone report. We agree with that judgment.

The Washington Post reached a different judgment. In place of a news report about Ryan’s misstatements, the Post presented a front-page news report about the fact-checking of Ryan’s speech.

Are you following us here? The Post didn’t do a report about Ryan’s misstatements. Instead, the Post did a report about the people reporting Ryan’s misstatements!

The Post decided to cover the coverage instead of the whoppers themselves.

The Post might be right in its judgment, of course. Or the Washington Post may have succumbed to wet palms and cold clammy fear.

They found it so easy to lie about Gore! And they find it so hard to tell the truth about bold honest truthful Paul Ryan.


  1. I assume (hope) we'll have a review of this New York Times article soon:

    How MSNBC Became Fox’s Liberal Evil Twin

    MSNBC has pumped up its ratings by recasting itself as a left-leaning riposte to Fox News, and that’s fine. Fox long ago proved that a lot of viewers like to hear cable anchors echo what they already think; MSNBC is just playing catch-up. Fox is still well ahead, especially during a Republican convention, but on Tuesday, there were times when MSNBC drew significantly more convention viewers than CNN.

    That’s because MSNBC offers counterprogramming, not coverage. All that arch sarcasm and partisan brio may rev up the cable channel’s fans, but it constrains — and stains — NBC News, its corporate sibling, which is still the country’s No. 1 source in the evening.

    1. no.

      *in our adverserial political system*, both parties (and individual pols as well) legitimately have, or should have, their own propagandists in the non-pejorative sense of that word, i.e. a friendly interpretation of their words, deeds and positions. they should and do employ them directly, but they should also try to see to it that on balance they are fairly represented within the various mediums as well.

      the basic premise of the article you cite (and your comment) that the non-fox media, the networks and cnn, are the good people is not true. because of fear and greed, they allow falsehoods to pass without adequate scrutiny, giving the public a massively distorted picture of reality.

      who does this most benefit? the pols and party who tells the most and biggest lies, the gop -- by a large margin. . . . the dem party cant force the mainstream to do legitimate journalisism. if it wasnt for msnbc, the situation would much more egregious than it is.

      you and alessandra stanley say that both fox and msnbc are *similar*. superficially to an extent, but they are not anywhere near being the *same* substantively. the difference is in the parties they advocate for. . . . to contrast them as though they each were defense attorneys -- msnbc is the pro bono public defender handling the occasional non-violent misdemeanor case while fox is consigliere to an organized crime family -- whose chief target is msnbcs dem clients.

  2. The raison d'etre of FOX was to counter the liberal bias of the MSM.
    Conversely, the raison d'etre of MSNBC is to counter the deceptions spouted by FOX.

    My wife watches Brian Williams regularly.

    Williams rarely expresses an opinion. He tries to preserve the cachet of ye olde tyme news anchor.

    Unfortunately, he leaves much to be desired when he interviews a seasoned deceiver.

    Last night, in a brief Q & A with Paul Ryan, Williams simply did not follow up Ryan's misleading claims; claims any first-year stringer from BBC would have pounced on like a fox terrier on a rat.

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