Sunday, September 26, 2010

WashPost Includes Bank Bailout in List of Obama Administration Actions

On Sunday's front page, the Washington Post serves up a sad gaffe. "Tea party has nation's attention. Now what?" by Amy Gardner tells the story of what Tea Party groups are up to and how they came to where they are now. In paragraph three:
Soon a scattering of other groups sprung up nearby, including the Lower Bucks County Tea Party Patriots, which hosted meetings where friends and neighbors could gather to share their frustration over the $814 billion federal stimulus package, bank and auto company bailouts, and other actions of the Obama administration.
Those bank bailouts, yeah! The bailouts are indeed cited frequently by critics as a wrong of the Obama Administration. In a Pew poll conducted in early July, 47% thought TARP was passed and signed into law under Obama, 34% said under Bush, and 19% said they didn't know.

Of course, TARP was signed into law by President Bush in October of 2008.

To be sure, Senator Obama voted in favor of the bailout, and as president he has said it was necessary. So it's not that the policy would have necessarily been particularly different if he had been president. The issue is that huge numbers of people, including many in the right wing, are angry at Obama for something Bush did. Yes, there were some conservatives who criticized Bush at the time for the decision, but they weren't exactly out in the streets about it much.

It's one thing for a tea party group to get it wrong, another for the Washington Post to get it wrong, let alone above the fold on Sunday's front page in an enterprise story.

Update: A Week After TARP Error, Post Prints Letter Noting Mistake -- But Doesn't Correct Error

Update 2: WashPost Notes Public Misconception that Obama Created TARP -- But Still Hasn't Corrected Its Own Error on the Matter


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