READER COMMENTS ON
"Woodruff Parrots GOP Talking Points to WH Budget Director"
(13 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 3/1/2009 @ 12:54 pm PT...
PBS...Public Brainwashing System?
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 3/1/2009 @ 2:04 pm PT...
The media was complicit with BushCo's budget policies over the last eight years because they were the primary beneficiaries. Furthermore, I find few in the media well-versed on economics, so all they can spout are limpublican talking points. I don't think one of them has any idea or concern about Keynesian economics and why it is necessary to use them in a severe recession. PBS' reputation for reporting the news to the public in an impartial manner has taken a hit by having reporters like Juan Williams and Judy Woodruff discuss topics they have little understanding of. Their credibility is headed towards 0. No wonder they have stepped up their fundraising efforts. Could it be because they no longer have the following they had in the past?
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 3/1/2009 @ 2:23 pm PT...
PBS' reputation for reporting the news to the public in an impartial manner has taken a hit by having reporters like Juan Williams and Judy Woodruff discuss topics they have little understanding of.
Worse than that. If they have little understanding of a topic, then why would they jump to use Republican Talking Points?
Unless.........No. They're fair and balanced.
Right? (And I don't mean Left.)
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 3/1/2009 @ 2:40 pm PT...
The demise of the formerly impeccable "Frontline" was enough to convince me that PBS is no longer a refuge for those who wish to get real news and cogent commentary. Even, it seems, Bill Moyers has to stick within certain bounds, though I find his weekly Journal almost completely "must see tv"... even as I won't brook the presence of a tv in my house and watch him online instead. The News Hour horrifies me nowadays. Obviously, they had to sell their souls to stay on the air... and, I'm sorry, but it would have been better for the world had they just dug in their heels and gone off the air rather than sell out.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 3/1/2009 @ 2:58 pm PT...
I've seen Judy Woodruff on TV since the 1970s. She has very nice strawberry blonde hair. But I can't remember any notable journalism from her.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 3/1/2009 @ 5:39 pm PT...
I suppose I could do some research myself on this, but has the conservative head of the CPB been replaced yet? Obama's far too "post-partisan" to replace him with a real liberal with orders to clean house, but it would be nice to see a little balance restored to PBS and NPR.
They are as fact-selective and welcoming of bogus, "balancing" viewpoints as the major TV networks, yet many liberals still view them as impartial, multiplying the damage they cause. Conservatives, meanwhile, have been stacking the deck with the likes of Tucker Carlson and Ben Wattenberg, not to mention a majority of right-leaning panelists on Washington Week.
When will the Democrats wake up and do something about this farce?
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 3/1/2009 @ 6:48 pm PT...
Brad J. -
There's little doubt that Woodruff's "journalism" there, is just about the laziest sort there is, and its focus on politics, instead of policy (as you correctly point out), is symptomatic of much of what is wrong with our current version of broadcast news (that would also include virtually all of the cable news channels, including MSNBC, and even much of the so-called progressive blogosphere, btw.)
All that stipulated then, let me play devil's advocate and ask: Isn't her asking those (lazy) questions to Orszag a swell opportunity for him to hit it out of the park? Aren't those, in fact, the not-probing, not-hard-hitting questions he's likely to be most prepared for? And in asking them, isn't she giving him a simple opportunity to dispatch with so many of the criticisms (GOP talking points) that folks are likely to have heard elsewhere?
To put it another way, does asking these questions imply she supports those GOP talking points? Or couldn't a case similarly be made that she's *against* those talking points, and thus, giving softballs to Orszag by allowing him the chance to respond to (and/or destroy) those stupid, baseless talking points?
Would welcome your thoughts on that.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 3/1/2009 @ 10:41 pm PT...
O needs to send his entire cabinet to the Barney Frank school of comebacks IMO
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 3/1/2009 @ 10:46 pm PT...
And in asking them, isn't she giving him a simple opportunity to dispatch with so many of the criticisms (GOP talking points) that folks are likely to have heard elsewhere?
First, that certainly could be the case. But taken in the context of the mainstream media narrative surrounding this issue, like so many other issues covered by them, Woodruff poses these questions/GOP talking points as if they are all supremely valid and the budget plan shaky at best. If you watch the video, it's even more evident in her tone and facial expressions.
Now, whether that's because a) she agrees with these talking points, b) she wants to look like she's asking "tough questions," c) she thinks this will help Orszag's cause to answer them all, or d) some variation of a,b and c, I have no idea. I try to stay away from presuming to know someone's motivation when I'm writing media criticism (imagine trying to enter the head of Chris Matthews...the horror, the horror...).
But the effect of her actions, regardless of what motivated them, directly influences how her viewers see this issue or debate. Many Americans watching this broadcast will, in my opinion, come away believing that Woodruff, because of her choice of questions and, more precisely, the manner in which she asks them, is very skeptical of this budget plan (rightly or wrongly) and puts much weight in the GOP criticisms.
Is that a misreading by those viewers? Maybe. Is it a misreading to interpret the interview as Woodruff tossing premeditated GOP-colored softballs into Orszag's wheelhouse? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, in the end, Woodruff's laziness costs citizens valuable information in the midst of a colossal economic crisis. So whether she's leaning one way or another, or somehow believes that regurgitating every last GOP talking point proves she's a tough interviewer and serious journalist, I'm not sure if it matters all that much. At least, that's how I see it.
I just want the journalist, in this case Woodruff, to a) do her homework and not rely on talking points, whoever may benefit from their asking because such reliance on them never benefits the viewer or the truth, b) pose questions that genuinely provide substantive insight into the issue, insight that's not political but factual (yes, everything has a political angle but touching on that shouldn't come at the expense of understanding what's at the heart of an issue --- especially during a crisis) and c) be intellectually honest about where she's coming from; in other words, if she considers some of the GOP talking points weak, she shouldn't present them like a method actor playing a Fox News anchor.
Thanks for the question, Brad.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 3/2/2009 @ 1:51 am PT...
And thanks for the answer, Brad.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 3/2/2009 @ 8:03 pm PT...
Just check this out for comparison. It's a real interview.
Amy Goodman interviews Nobel laureate and World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz on Obama's speech to Congress.
Her questions are direct and straightforward. No bullshit of "I've been hearing...." and when a response suggests a follow-up, she is right there.
Some examples (her questions in bold):
AMY GOODMAN: President Obama on Tuesday night. Joe Stiglitz, is he holding the banks accountable?
AMY GOODMAN: So, you say Obama, too, has confused saving the banks with saving the bankers.
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Exactly.
AMY GOODMAN: Should they all have been fired?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, I think one has to look at it on a bank-by-bank basis. Clearly, the banks that have not been managed very well, we need to not only fire them, we have to change their incentive structure. And it’s not just the level of pay; it’s the form of the pay. Their incentive structures encourage excessive risk taking, shortsighted behavior. And in a way, it’s a vindication of economic theory. They behaved in the irresponsible way that their incentive structures would have led them to behave.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain that.
AMY GOODMAN: Should the banks be nationalized?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Many of the banks clearly should be put into, you might say, conservatorship. Americans don’t like to use the word “nationalization.” We do it all the time. We do it every week.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain.
Etc. Refreshing, huh? Real journalism. Let's hope Judy Woodruff takes notes.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 2:16 am PT...
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COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 1:12 pm PT...
Anyone have an email address on Judy "Joe the Plumber" Woodruff?