The Republican Party Needs Help
Ten Economics Paragraphs Worth Reading: December 16, 2009

In Which John Sides Wants to Flush the Tank on the New York Times and the Washington Post

As you know, I agree:

The Monkey Cage: What We Have Learned from the Health Care Debate: [R[]eporters start in with “news analysis” like this silliness from John Broder in Sunday’s New York Times. Here, climate change is framed around what Obama can or cannot accomplish, complete with portentous questions like:

Can Mr. Obama surmount those problems in his latest effort to save the world?...

A while back, I posted about a Ted Lowi essay in which he characterized this sort of news coverage as “unbelievably primitive.” And it is. Understanding policymaking means taking Congress seriously.... Policy change is not solely a matter of presidential will or skill.... Yglesias and others have rightly pounded away at the notion that policymaking should somehow be framed around the president’s goals, actions, and standing. This frame gets the policymaking process wrong, and it arguably hurts our understanding of the policies themselves, whose details are subordinated to armchair quarterbacking about the president’s decisions or lack thereof. At its worst, you get this stunning contempt from David Broder for the fact that making policy is a process and that the point of the process is to (try to) make the right decision:

...the urgent necessity is to make a decision — whether or not it is right...

I know the usual excuses: presidents are visible figures, they make for easier news stories, public policy is boring, the horse race is fun, etc. I actually think that it’s not that much of a stretch for journalists...

But it's not one they are their editors want to undertake, is it?

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