Monday, March 27, 2006

In Discussing Feingold's Censure Resolution, Mainstream Media Focuses On Non-Existent Motive

The headline, "Censure Resolution Could Pay Off for Feingold," or variations of that idea, made the rounds in the mainstream media yesterday.

The Associated Press article says:

"While only two Democrats in the Senate have embraced Sen. Russ Feingold's call for censuring President Bush, the idea is increasing his standing among many Democratic voters as he ponders a bid for the party's presidential nomination in 2008.

Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, insists his proposal has nothing to do with his political ambitions. But he does challenge Democrats who argue it will help energize Republicans. ... Feingold said his sole purpose was to hold Bush accountable."

The article does a great job talking about energizing Republicans. It quotes Rush Limbaugh's web site and an article in the conservative magazine National Review. And it found one Democrat, Rep. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is against the censure motion.

What the article doesn't address is a central question: Why did the White House claim it had "inherent authority" to conduct such surveillance, then undercut that argument by supporting legislation from Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) to "further codify" (read: legalize) the surveillance program?

The article also doesn't find it suspect that Republicans have generally opposed investigating the program. As DeWine said, "We don’t want to have any kind of debate about whether it’s constitutional or not constitutional."

Rather than suggest that Feingold wants answers to these questions, the AP instead comes up with a non-existent motive that Feingold clearly shoots down. And headline writers around the country use that non-existent motive to serve as its headline, giving Republicans to argue that Feingold is a political opportunist, with no right to waste everyone's time asking such questions of the Bush Administration?

It's a set-up akin to: Smith Shoots Dog, with a story reading: "Some are suggesting that Smith shot his dog. Smith insisted he didn't shoot his dog, and doesn't even know how to use a gun."

***

Another Republican talking point -- that the average American doesn't care about the warrantless surveillance debate -- would appear to be fact-challenged, following a Newsweek poll from March 16-17, which found that 42% of Americans favor censure.

The poll found that 60% of Democrats favor censure, while just 20% of Republicans favor it.

But think about this. Censure hasn't been debated yet. That happens this week, when the Senate Judiciary Committee meets. And the debate to come will be potentially the first investigation of warrantless surveillance.

It's not far-fetched to think those numbers may change as more Americans become aware of the arguments for censure and against warrantless surveillance -- not through the fact-challenged framing of Rush Limbaugh, but through broad coverage by the mainstream media.

Let's hope the broad media does a better job covering this week's debate than the AP did yesterday.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Veritas said...

Yes, it will be interesting to see how the Senate treats this measure. I have posted an article on the domestic spying program entitled, "Laws? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Laws!"

I urge you and your readers to give it a read!

6:52 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

I agree. So far the only interest the MSM has had on Feingold's censure resolution has been the political ramifications. Sustantiated concerns the president broke the law?
No one cares about story, the MSM has decided for the masses.
I hope I'm wrong, but I fear the political ramifications theme will persist throughout the hearings.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous ThomCat said...

Of course.

According to the MSM, Democrats always have some selfish motive for whatever we do. It couldn't possibly be because Bush blatantly broke the law, violated his oath of office and needs to be held accountable.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Amen to that

Now can someone spread the word to Democrats, as Feingold might say, that it's ok to stand up to the GOP when armed with the facts?

10:26 PM  
Anonymous EST said...

Always trust the librul media to frame the issues as to discredit libruls. 'Tis an uphill fight we're fighting, here, so we have to invent an uphill weapon. Could it be that quixotic symbol of telling the unabashed truth?

10:26 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

i realize this wasn't the first coverage of the censure motion, but this story was ridiculous. And if you do a google news search, you'll find that there are lots and lots of examples of it being picked up with variations of that headline.

How much easier did headline writers just make it for the Rush Limbaugh crowd? For the Sunday pundits?

If people want to dismiss the censure motion -- which it appears they don't -- then fine. But let's dismiss it on the facts, not some fact-challenged universe in which Democrats can only be in one of two camps: political opportunists or Bush-haters.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Jeffersons Ghost said...

the sad part is that Russ doesn't give a damn about being popular

He's just trying to do his job... I wish some other leading DC Dems wold join in his charge... A few are rattling their swords in support while not whole-heartedly joining in the charge.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Peppermint Lately said...

A new poll shows a majority of Americans support Democratic Senator Russ Feingold’s measure to censure President Bush for authorizing the no-warrant domestic surveillance program. According to the American Research Group, 46% of Americans favor the measure, while 44% oppose it.

11:29 AM  

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