Greg Anrig on Tom Hamburger on Jason Furman
Felix Salmon on Jeff Bercovici on Citizen Journalism

Washington Post Death Spiral Watch (Perry Bacon Edition)

We have seen the mendacious, unethical, and incompetent Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon before. Here's a roundup of the last time we saw his fungus-like countenance:

Tom Toles:

Opinions: Tom Toles Cartoons - ( Obama's Eating of Vegetables Fuels Rumors About Him: Barack Obama doesn't hide his enjoyment of peas and beans, fueling Internet rumors that he's a jihadist vegetarian who will take the oath of office with his hand on a slab of damp tofu. He denies the rumors, but he sure does eat a lot of vegetables, including tofu at times, and the real significance of the rumors is how they will hurt him if they get repeated enough. Inside: Are the rumors true? More discussion of them first.

Paul McLeary:

CJR: Is Perry Bacon Serious?: In The Washington Post this morning, reporter Perry Bacon Jr. wrote what may be the single worst campaign ‘08 piece to appear in any American newspaper so far this election cycle. In the front-page piece, Bacon muses over how the chances of Barack Obama getting elected president might be affected by the fact that he’s not Muslim. Seriously. To build his case, Bacon stumbles artlessly through all manner of rumor, innuendo, and xenophobic smear—never bothering to refute any of it, even though there is plenty of well-documented evidence to knock down much of this stuff.... Further down in the piece, we’re given the evidence for Bacon’s assertion: selected quotes from a variety of right-wing nut jobs.... Problem is, none of this is true, though Bacon never gets around to telling us that...

The SideTrack: Fried Bacon, Jr.: Under critical blow-back, Bacon has issued a statement defending the article.... Bacon in his statement above calls the Obama Muslim smears "falsehoods." But they aren't identified as such in [Bacon's original piece.... [I]t is at least worth asking what the point of this article was.... [I]t does nothing to illuminated the previously verified fallacies of the smear campaign. This now passes for journalism? This is being a "watchdog of democracy?" Would it kill today's media to ask themselves "how will what I am writing better inform the public?" In not doing so, they leave it up to us to ask how we will be better informed by reading what passes for content in many of today's newspapers, and support only those who offer us more...

And today we see him on display once again. Let's take the last paragraph:

McCain, Obama Clash on Economy: Obama has continued the criticism of free-trade agreements and big corporations that marked his primary campaign, and next week, he plans to focus on job creation and trade. He is also casting himself as more fiscally responsible than McCain, arguing that he would balance the budget and that McCain would increase the deficit.

Judging by their plans, Obama is more fiscally responsible than McCain. He is not "casting himself" as more fiscally responsible than McCain. He is more fiscally responsible. Perry Bacon should say that. But he doesn/t dare.

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?