The top five reasons Politico is garbage, in their own words

Christopher Bedford | Editor in Chief, The Daily Caller News Foundation

Every now and then, someone pulls back the curtain, and the ol’ U.S.A. gets a good look at the folks behind the news.

In this case, our window is a Politico article on the Nebraska Senate race by David Rogers. And boy, is it a good look at what the wizards of the liberal media really think.

Some folks may have missed what we’re talking about. We mean, not a lot of people care too much about a race in Nebraska, and maybe that’s just how this nugget got by the editors. But hey – we read this crap so you don’t have to. Now, since The Daily Caller doesn’t believe in kicking a man when he’s down (and in the interest of time), we’re only going to break down the first page of this five-page manifesto.

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So without further ado, we bring you the top five reasons The Politico is garbage, in their own words.

1. The title

Titles are important. They don’t simply catch a reader’s eye — they tell the reader what that article is about and, sometimes, give them a clue as to where the author is coming from. So when we saw the title, “Bob Kerrey’s last stand to fix Washington” — pretty much a modern day “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” — we thought to ourselves, well, we do know one thing right off the bat: Reporter Mr. Rogers is coming from somewhere — and that somewhere is Mr. Kerrey’s corner.

2. The lede

The goal of a news article is to, well, tell the news. It starts with a sentence detailing exactly what the reader should care about, mentions a few important facts to back that up, then tells the story in a fair-minded fashion with the ultimate goal of giving the reader trustworthy and balanced information that they can rely on to make decisions in their day-to-day life. So, you can imagine our surprise when we read the following:

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — That sound you hear from the empty corn fields is Bob Kerrey gaining on Deb Fischer and the collision of two ideas in American politics: Is the goal to gain power in a broken Congress or to find those best for the Senate to mend it?

Republican Fischer is of the first school: a hard-edged rancher who combines grass-roots gumption and the modern money politics of the KRR machine: Koch, Ricketts and Rove. Make no bones about it, Nebraska’s Senate seat is her lever to topple Democratic leader Harry Reid and health care reform and Republicans are supremely confident she will be on her way Nov. 6.

Surely, we thought, he must be writing of Tammany Hall or some similar notorious political machine. But nope. Mr. Rogers is writing about two modern candidates for the U.S. Senate – one, a Republican whose goal is, we guess, “to gain power in a broken Congress,” the other, a Democrat who, by process of elimination, is working to “find those [ideas] best for the Senate.”

Oh — and that Republican is backed by the notorious “KRR machine” — a super team of big-government Republican Karl Rove, small-government libertarian Charles Koch, and a baseball owner most people would have to Google (a few times) to identify. But know this: They are nefarious! And they are a “machine.”

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(PS – The Democratic super PAC misses this treatment, when, in later pages they’re listed as “a super PAC organized by wealthy friends to help his [Kerrey’s] cause.”)

So in the lede, without any explanation and without any actual evidence, Mr. Rogers has painted the Democrat as the good guy devoid of self-interest, the Republican as the woman looking to gain power, and Messrs. Rove, Koch and Ricketts as three guys who are in coordinated cahoots for evil.

Let’s not even begin to explain how Messrs. Rove, Koch and Ricketts are different individuals with different beliefs and end-goals; let’s not even focus on how unlikely it is that the Ms. Fischer has even met any of them. Because today, we’re focusing on how an allegedly respectable reporter at an allegedly respectable publication filled his first two paragraphs with enough shit to fertilize Nebraska, declined to bother with even cavalier explanations, called it journalism and got it past his editors.

3-4) The reporting

So now that we’ve established what the basic good-guy-bad-guy story Mr. Rogers is selling is, it’s time for some details: Just how bad is this Fischer character, anyways.

And Mr. Rogers has just the thing for the task: Liberal orthodoxy — on 3) taxes and 4) global warming– reported as fact:

But in her climb to the top, Fischer has locked herself into so many rigid positions that the 61-year-old state legislator will find it harder to tackle the boatload of problems waiting in Washington. Amid the worst drought in a generation, Fischer stunned many this summer by denying man’s role in global warming. She’s signed herself over to the anti-tax insiders, making it harder to get any budget in balance. When dozens of fellow state legislators endorsed her Monday, not one was a Democrat.

Now that looks insidious. All of it. But, see, it’s also a bit of Washington jargon, so we’ll break it down with TheDC Translator.

  • “Fischer has locked herself into so many rigid positions that the 61-year-old state legislator will find it harder to tackle the boatload of problems waiting in Washington” is liberal for “Fischer doesn’t think that raising taxes during a recession is worth considering, and that Washington’s problem is a spending problem — not a revenue problem. Therefore, Fischer is unfit to fix the problem in Washington, which is not enough taxes.”
  • “Amid the worst drought in a generation, Fischer stunned many this summer by denying man’s role in global warming” is liberal for “This is the worst since this generation discovered global warming hysteria. [Though ‘worst drought in this generation’ implies that there were tougher ones before man-made global warming began]. And Fischer refused to toe the progressive line, accept unproven science and, during a recession, regulate and shut down industry until the drought stopped. This was very stunning to this reporter, who knows then that it must also have ‘stunned many.'”
  • “She’s signed herself over to the anti-tax insiders, making it harder to get any budget in balance” is liberal for “While campaigning, she made a pledge to voters that she would not raise taxes, making it way too hard for Democrats to raise taxes during a recession.”
  • “When dozens of fellow state legislators endorsed her Monday, not one was a Democrat” is liberal for “Every single member of the Nebraska Democratic Party was too partisan to endorse Fischer, thereby proving that she is too partisan.”

5) The writing

So one thing we know for sure is that Mr. Rogers is one hell of a storyteller. Seriously, what we have here is good versus evil: A farm boy’s uphill battle against a corporate machine and a citizenry too frightened by scare tactics to join the rebellion. But sometimes it turns out the wizard is just a putz hiding behind a curtain. And after reading the following line, we start to lean toward the latter:

And this maverick, native son has come home like some Bruce Willis time-traveler, warning that change is needed to avoid a darker future for Nebraska and the nation.

Read that again — it’s kind of fun. This really is how Mr. Rogers envisions the scenario, and we can only imagine what role he imagines for himself in this futuristic science-fiction battle for the soul of America. Bad editing let this little glimmer of crazy get right onto the pages of Politico. Sure, they’ll protest and stammer and shoot off smoke and fireworks, just like the con man did when Toto caught him at work, but “Bob Kerrey’s Last Stand to Fix Washington” isn’t just a fluke: It’s a glimpse of what lies behind.

So no matter what the liberal media might holler, pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

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