Scott Wilson and the Washington Post

Twice previously over the last couple of weeks, I’ve criticized the contributions of WP reporter Scott Wilson as being not much more than stenography for Republican talking points. Robert Parry, at sees the same:

An insidiuous power of a propagandistic newspaper – expecially one with great influence – is how it can “frame” an issue so the assumptions behind a story guide the readers to a preordained conclusion under the guise of presenting a fair journalistic account.

As Barack Obama reaches the two-month anniversary of his presidency, he is facing such a problem from the powerful Washington Post, which is creating a negative “frame” for his administration.

The Post’s news pages have been filled with supposedly objective news stories that have portrayed Republican obstructionism not as the GOP’s determination to hobble Obama – much as the Republicans did to Bill Clinton in 1993-94 – but as Obama’s “failure” to achieve the bipartisanship he advocated during the campaign.

The Post and other leading news organizations also have suffered from a strange amnesia about the fact that today’s worldwide financial disaster has been in the making for many years and reached a crisis point in 2008 under the “self-regulatory” theories of President George W. Bush.

Instead of that context, the recession is portrayed as an Obama problem, with the Post and other news outlets even forgetting to mention in stories about the 6.2 percent drop in the gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2008 that the startling decline occurred under Bush, not Obama.

The Washington Post pulled those two peculiar threads together in a March 14 page-one article entitled “Obama’s New Tack: Blaming Bush,” which claims that Obama is violating his pledge of bipartisanship by alleging that the economic crisis predated his presidency. The story’s sub-head reads: “President Points to ‘Inherited’ Economy.”

The story by Scott Wilson opens this way:

“In his inaugural address, President Obama proclaimed ‘an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.’ It hasn’t taken long for the recriminations to return — or for the Obama administration to begin talking about the unwelcome ‘inheritance’ of its predecessor.”

In other words, the Washington Post has decided that it’s now something of a conspiracy theory – or at least a partisan argument – to suggest that the Bush administration bears any responsibility for the economic mess. Such points are put in quotation marks.

Once that frame is created, the conclusion becomes obvious: Obama is a liar for talking about bipartisanship during Campaign 2008 and at his Inauguration, while now trying to excuse his own failure to resolve the economic crisis by unfairly shifting blame to Bush and the Republicans, who are the victims.

There’s much more to the piece.  It’s very informative and I highly recommend it.  It’s right here


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