And the Post’s national politics editor Steve Ginsberg:
We launched our own database of the White House visitor logs with a piece by Tim Farnam that explored the steady stream of lobbyist visitations to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We are the news organization that broke stories and aggressively followed the Solyndra loan controversy, courtesy of dogged reporting by Carol Leonnig and Joe Stephens. The first installment of our ongoing series, “Evolution of a President,” by Peter Wallsten, Lori Montgomery and Scott Wilson, dissected the debt deal in a way that it had not been done before. Today, Jerry Markon had a piece in the paper about Romney’s judicial appointments and his ill-fated effort to reform the system in Massachusetts. Last year, Markon wrote about the steady rise of federal judicial vacancies during the Obama administration.
All of this critical coverage of the President’s policies was apparently lost on Politico, who concluded that the papers had stopped critically covering Obama because they had stopped critically covering his personal life and background.
There are legitimate critiques to be made against the different coverage accorded Obama and Romney, but they have nothing to do with uneven scrutiny or their public versus private lives. Rather, as CJR’s Brendan Nyhan pointed out a few weeks ago, the narratives for the two candidates were depicted differently. Both Obama and Romney shifted positions on major issues, Nyhan argued, but the press described Obama’s shift as a natural “evolution” while treating Romney’s as a hypocritical “flip-flop.”
Politico could have done something similar, examining the different articles published about Obama in 2008 and Romney in 2012 and critiquing them on their journalistic merits—were the facts inaccurate, the reporting thin, the narratives misleading? Instead, they reprinted false statements by Republican politicians and political operatives upset that media coverage of their candidate was hurting his campaign. That seems more like the work of a political consulting team, not media critics—and certainly not journalists.