A good story in the Washington Post, and then...

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Yesterday I mentioned that the Washington Post had covered the recent climate-email story as another interesting political flap, whereas the NYT had noted that the email controversy did not affect the status of "decades of peer-reviewed science" on the climate front.

Today's WaPo has a strong story doing just what I said newspaper reporters often find difficult: Saying flat-out that certain claims are true (or false), without relying on "critics contend" quotes to that effect. The story is by Lois Romano and Alec MacGillis; it concerns Sen. Joe Lieberman's recent comments on health-care reform legislation; and it says plainly that Lieberman is wrong. For instance (emphasis added by me):

"Lieberman says the public option is a sop to supporters of full government-run health insurance. He argues that the proposal lacks public support, although polls show a majority favor the concept. He says the government has no place in providing health insurance, despite its role in overseeing Medicare and Medicaid.

"Most of all, he insists that a public option would drive the country further into debt. But this argument muddles how the new system will function and is at odds with independent assessments... A strong public option would lower the bill's cost by tens of billions of dollars, the Congressional Budget Office found....

"Confronted with the cost-saving assessments of a strong public option, Lieberman concedes the point, but he says an aggressive government-run plan would put undue pressures on medical providers and force them to shift costs to private insurers. Put simply, he opposes the public option in any form, regardless of whether it reduces costs.

I note this in fairness, and in support.

On the other hand, I see just now, online, that tomorrow the Post is publishing an op-ed on climate science by.... Sarah Palin! She is beyond doubt a celebrity and a political phenomenon. But who, exactly, has ever said that she knows anything op-ed worthy about climate change and climate science? I look forward to the "we are a serious newspaper" explanation for this choice.

Update: I see that the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder weighed in on this point earlier this evening.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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