Journalism!

Big Media Matt:

I used to think that US Senate Barbara Boxer was an experienced legislator with a solid progressive record on the issues. But then I read this Politico article in which various anonymous people criticize her "abrasive personal style" and "outspoken partisan liberal" demeanor. Big trouble! And then I got to thinking, I recall having read similar critiques of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. And Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate and now as Secretary of State has been subjected to similar criticism. Nancy Pelosi, too.

Yglesias notes how often this happens to women in politics, and I agree with his observation of bias.

But I'd also like to kick some dirt on the Politico (or "POLITICO!!" or whatever). Anonymously quoting staffers about a Senator's 'demeanor' is the cheapest punch in DC - and there's probably an 80%+ chance the staffer gripe is personal.

Reminds me of perhaps my favorite line in a Politico story ever:

"Olive Garden's manager of media relations, who asked not to be quoted on the record, confirmed to POLITICO Thursday..."

Blogger. Ethics. Panel.

Tags: Barbara Boxer, Politico (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

This is a good point

I agree with this, if we're going to watchdog, or blog we're going to need to check our sources and also work to remove bias.

Quoting people is kind of lame if you think about it, anyway. Sure you get some good stuff by quotes but by and large if its important enough to be said its usually important enough to be written down.  If you take someone off the record,
fine -  let them stay off the blog.

I am not the best person to do this, I honestly could do a lot better checking my sources.
But what appeals to me about the work that Jon Singer and others do, is that they usually leave links to follow and ways to find out whats going on - esp. if its an important issue, like say, sotomayor.

So. Anyway. Nice catch. :)

by Trey Rentz 2009-07-23 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Journalism!

An exercise for the critic of the critics:

1)  compare the turnover rate of Boxer's staff compared to Feinstein's staff

2)  take a poll among constituents as to which office provides better constituent services, including piddling things like arranging Capitol tours that one of the office just can't be bothered with

3)  draw conclusions accordingly

4)  for bonus credit, conduct an "Inside the Beltway" survey as to which Senator is more effective and more highly regarded, ideological differences or affinities not withstanding

by InigoMontoya 2009-07-23 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Journalism!

I think staffers are also likely to have biased expectations going in--disgruntlement is often more a matter of an employer not conforming to expectations as it is a matter of poor management; people who expect their job to suck don't get too upset when it does, staffers who expect their boss to be an office mommy and compromise rather than let their staff take criticism are going to be pissed when she acts 'like a man.'

by Endymion 2009-07-23 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Journalism!

Interesting theory completely unsupported by the facts.   Feinstein, in comparison, is certainly no "mommy."  

by InigoMontoya 2009-07-23 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Journalism!
I think you must have misread me then.  Where does Feinstein figure in my comment?  These are United States Senators, ideally one set of expectations applies to all hundred of them.  But Matt points out that this is not the case, that female politicians are expected to conform to ideals of femininity first and politicianhood second.  Josh then suggests in the remainder of the post that staffers gripe, and asserts that staffer griping is sometimes personal.  
Now, the impact of expectations on a person's state of mind is a well-established field of study.  There are no serious proponents of the position that expectations are irrelevant (I wouldn't provide supporting facts for the existence of global warming, either).  I was suggesting a closer link between Matt and Josh's ideas than Josh suggested on his own...I would concede, in retrospect, that my comment was an unnecessary statement of the obvious; for you to call it out for being the exactly the opposite is baffling.  Perhaps, irony?
by Endymion 2009-07-23 02:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Journalism!

Well except for the fact that her behavior towards the african american gentleman at that hearing was disturbing to say the least. Had it been a republican, we would have slammed her. And her nonsense with the General during a hearing, getting all up in arms over his use of the word mam, was truly pathetic to say the least. Lets call her what she is....a bitch. If she was a man I would say arrogant bastard......

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-07-23 11:32AM | 0 recs
We?

Well, Buckeye, since you are sort of a lone conservative voice here, I think you should lay off the statments that WE would have done this, that or the other thing....

You're kind of generically not part of the MyDD WE, as far as I have noted.

Boxer is one of my FEW hero's in Congress, whereas seeing your continual FreeMarket hawking here, I suspect you would prefer Carli Fiorina, rumored to be gunning for Boxers seat in 2012?

But, you want to call somebody THE B-WORD...
(my ex boss at another company worked for Carli....)

by WashStateBlue 2009-07-23 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Journalism!

From a summer intern:

"Her staff told us that when Boxer came into the office, that we were not supposed to look at her directly.  Apparently a few years ago, some intern would sort of stare at her, and she didn't like it, so now none of us were supposed to look at her for too long."

by Dr Octagon 2009-07-24 07:12AM | 0 recs

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