Reporting means more than just uncritically repeating a candidate’s talking points and calling it a day. It requires judging what politicians say by the only appropriate standard of journalism, the truth.
By this standard, the Washington Post’s coverage of Romney’s trite militaristic speech the other day fell miserably short.
First of all, can someone please tell me exactly what a “muscular” foreign policy is? Does it mean we invade other countries at will, even say, when it costs us a trillion dollars with no benefit?
Was Hitler “muscular”? Is it a good thing to be? I guess it must be, since its apparent opposite, a “flaccid” policy, doesn’t sound too great.
“Muscular”, in this context, is an utterly meaningless adjective used simply to make warmongers like Romney sound cooler and sexier. It is in short, a marketing term — not a journalistic one.
Beyond such phony packaging, the Post story failed to challenge Romney’s muscular manhandling of the facts on at least 4 key points.
First, as Daily Kos noted, Romney dropped the massive, easy-to-disprove whopper that Obama has made “massive defense cuts” when in fact defense spending has gone up something like $150 billion under this administration and is, if anything, at record highs and out of control. Not even mentioned in the WaPo story.
Second, closely related point is that the Post failed to ask what Romney’s goals of blowing up our military-industrial complex to even greater proportions would cost and how he would pay for it. At a time when all we hear from the Tea Party, their Republican lackeys and the media is about cutting government and reducing deficits, Romney’s expressed desire to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer money with unforeseen benefits is not even questioned. Really, dudes?
Third and fourth, as Greg Sargent pointed out, Romney repeats the debunked right wing myths that Obama goes around the world “apologizing” for America and claiming our country is not “exceptional”.
It does not serve our democracy well when journalists fail to call out politicians peddling complete, blatant falsehoods — and instead reward such mangling of the facts with phony labels like “muscular”. The Post and other media need to be less fawning and more critical — before another muscle-headed president bankrupts us with an oversized military fueling more destructive, unnecessary wars.