You don't trust us. You really don't.
That's the message to the media from a new poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press. It's a devastating look at how little respect Americans have for mainstream newspapers and television news.
Interviewing 1,506 adults, 18 and older, in July and August by landline and cell phone, Pew's researchers found that only 29 percent say news organizations "generally get the facts straight."
A whopping 63 percent insist news stories are "often inaccurate." In 1985, in the first survey, only 34 percent said news stories were often inaccurate. Two years ago, 53 percent expressed concern.
Why is this?
One would hope that Jimmy Carter, as he has been frequently in the past, is dead wrong in his allegation that Rep. Joe Wilson's unfortunate accusation that President Barack Obama was lying to Congress is rooted in racism. His playing of the race card not only seems ill advised, it has been disavowed by a White House dedicated to avoiding such polarization.
If the South Carolina Republican congressman had any other motivation than just disagreement with a presidential policy, it would help return the national political discourse to a hateful level not seen for decades.
Few members of Congress are disclosing that lobbyists are helping them raise campaign cash despite a new law that was supposed to shed light on the ties between lawmakers and the capital's influence brokers, an Associated Press review found.
Though lobbyist-hosted fundraisers are workaday events in Washington — typically advertised to political insiders by fax and word of mouth — only about two dozen lawmakers have reported lobbyists raising money for them.
Looking for a one-stop source of advice on sex trafficking, fraudulently obtaining mortgages, opening a brothel, tax cheating and shooting your husband?
Your go-to source for help appears to be certain offices of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, whose acronym, a nut, now seems singularly appropriate.
No question about it. The number of "czars" in government has proliferated under President Barack Obama and has provided a rallying point for his Republican opposition.
Conservatives say Obama has created as many as 40 czars and under that elastic definition President George W. Bush had as many as 36. Still, a less overheated count by The Washington Post lists 30 czars in the Obama administration, 12 of them preexisting, and eight of those requiring Senate confirmation, and 18 positions added by the new president.
"Czar," it turns out, is a flexible title. In some cases, it's simply shorthand. The "border czar" is a Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary with a really long title that includes responsibility for border affairs.
My dear readers, I am striving to be extra polite today because ill-mannered jerks appear to have taken over America and someone has to set a higher standard. In every field -- particularly politics -- rudeness rules.
I know what you are thinking: If I am the one to set the standards for politeness, we are all doomed. That is just the sort of discourteous thought that I seek to banish.
But how to restore good manners to America? The easiest way might be to bring back smoking as a fashionable pastime. Yes, it is a disgusting habit that can lead to horrible death, but on the upside, it has a sedative effect on users.
The meltdowns seem to come in bunches.
Serena Williams busting her racket and threatening a judge at the U.S. Open. Kanye West crashing the stage at the MTV awards and wresting the microphone away from honoree Taylor Swift.
And perhaps most notably Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst at Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress when he shouted, "You lie!" at the president.
The House GOP leadership arm-twisted Wilson into making an apology, but the obscure Republican backbencher seems to be enjoying his newfound notoriety so perhaps he will find it fortuitous that the same day the House voted to admonish him, Muntadhar al-Zeidi was released from an Iraqi jail.
Some issues are a demagogue's delight. And Democrats, thinking there really is safety in numbers, lemming-walked themselves into their opponents' trap and are now paying a steep political price because they ducked two health insurance reforms they could have resolved with just a bit of political courage and populist common sense.
Duck One: They failed to see the clear need to put sensible limits on malpractice awards -- because it is one reason doctors are unnecessarily propelling healthcare costs ever skyward. (And it is a bill we all ultimately pay.)
Intelligence activities across the U.S. government and military cost a total of $75 billion a year, the nation's top intelligence official said on Tuesday, disclosing an overall number long shrouded in secrecy.
Dennis Blair, the U.S. director of national intelligence, cited the figure as part of a four-year strategic blueprint for the sprawling, 200,000-person intelligence community.
In an unclassified version of the blueprint released by Blair's office, intelligence agencies singled out as threats Iran's nuclear program, North Korea's "erratic behavior," and insurgencies fueled by militant groups, though Blair cited gains against al Qaeda.
A key House committee chairman says proposals President Barack Obama set out in his health care speech are causing problems for Democrats trying to finalize health legislation in the House.
Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel of New York says House Democrats would have to slash subsidies to the poor to get their bill to the $900 billion, 10-year price tag Obama specified.
Rangel also noted that the president didn't mention the new income tax on the wealthy that House Democrats want to use to pay for their bill, favoring a different approach instead. The congressman said "the restrictions that the president has given in his speech as well as the proposed discussions in the Senate has caused us more problems.