Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 13, 2012/ 23 Sivan, 5772

Gaffes, not facts, dominate presidential race

By Martin Schram




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The permanent activists of the Great American Gaffocracy -- the party spin doctors and message massagers and the 24/7 news action figures whose strings they so expertly pull -- can barely contain their glee.

Their jobs in our tabloid-driven politics and journalism are safe.

They just discovered Campaign 2012 will feature not just one, but two gaffe-capable presidential standard-bearers. Each has shown signs of being so eager to hit the ground running with a new message theme that he risks taking his first step firmly upon an upturned rake.

Bonk.

Mitt Romney, of course, was a given. A certified gaffer, Romney has gifted giddy Democratic operatives with ample fodder that made "Out of Touch Rich Guy" seem like his political signature.

But Barack Obama? Who knew? Celebrated as a silver-tongued communicator, President Obama showed he too could ad lib a gaffe that drowns out his new campaign message. On June 8, hoping to spotlight Republican failures to enact his plan to create public-sector jobs, Obama told reporters:

"The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government ... ."

The private sector is doing fine? Say what? One cardinal rule of politics is never try to sell ordinary people an idea they know in their gut isn't true. And every renter and mortgage payer knows family or friends who cannot find private-sector jobs.

Today's wired age of politics has begat a tabloidy industry of insiders: strategists who convert every opponent's goof into a gaffe; news-lite journalists who respond to spin doctors as reflexively as your leg jerks at your doctor's knee-tap. Even today's famous political journalists don't see their mission as substantively sorting campaign truths from lies. They prefer to predict the horserace by shoveling the horsestuff.

Obama's private-sector gaffe kicked off a pundit parade that marched across our 24/7 cable news well into the next week. Republicans aired a web ad, hoping to make Obama's gaffe a gift that keeps on giving. And Romney, emoting incredulity, made our screens seem like Alice's looking glass by asking: "Is he really that out of touch? I think he's defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people."

This was a pot-calling-the-kettle-out-of-touch moment that demanded media perspective -- but the media whiffed. Back on Feb. 1, Romney gave us what now seems like a mirror's image of Obama's later gaffe -- with actions of the right and left reversed. "I'm not concerned about the very poor," Romney told CNN. "We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of America -- the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling."

Not concerned about the poor? Cable news recycled his snippet. Democrats rushed a web ad containing a blatantly unfair, untrue snapper: "Mitt Romney: Not concerned about the poor ... or the middle class."

Obama's and Romney's gaffes had this in common: The candidates seemed to validate their critics' claims. February's Romney sounded like a rich guy who doesn't feel real folks' pain. Friday's Obama sounded like a stereotypical liberal who doesn't feel private enterprise's problems and thinks bigger government must solve all our problems.

Good news: Finally this week, CNN's Christine Romans, whose analytical economic coverage is superb, fact-checked Obama's claim that the private sector is fine. He was partly right but also overblown.

Obama was right in saying the private sector created 4.3 million jobs in 27 months; but experts say it should have created at least four times as many jobs. Also, the private sector created three times as many jobs overseas as it created in the USA. And while corporate profits rose 58 percent since 2009, corporations banked their money at twice the normal rate, instead of re-injecting it into the economy.

Bottom line: Public-sector jobs can help spur economic growth. But the private sector will always be the engine driving our economic recovery and prosperity. This is the discussion and debate we need in Campaign 2012.

We can have it only if the campaign's permanent insiders, the strategists and journalists, rein in their run-amok gaffocracy -- and serve our democracy by better informing voters.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.


Previously:


06/06/12: Command decisions mark new era of video-game warfare

04/25/12: Safeguarding us all in the nuclear age

04/18/12: The battle for the honor of enraging us more

03/28/12: Eavesdropping on diplomacy and politics

02/22/12: Drawing Romney's big picture

01/25/12: Candidates proving that time-tested Marxist theory

01/12/12: Even with primaries still to go, history's longest year starts now

01/05/12: Iowa caucuses reveal news media lapses

12/14/11: How Gingrich stole Mitt's Christmas

11/16/11: Supercommittee's super-sized surrender

11/16/11: Romney talks Texas-tough on Iran

11/03/11: The Silent Majority speaks at last

10/20/11: Outsourcing our democracy; hijacking our holidays

10/13/11: Decline and fall of presidential press conferences

09/28/11: Washington's Monument to broken government

08/17/11: Tax credits for job creation

07/06/11: Obama's on-the-job retraining from Clinton

06/29/11: Obama, Nixon suddenly joined in posterity



© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles