Friday, September 30, 2011

The media is the...

The Justice Department's Inspector General, which first reported the story of the alleged $16 muffin (see earlier post) has now blinked and admitted that the hotel where the muffins were served, along with coffee, tea, other pastries and fruit, was right that the cost was a bit under $15 per person, and included rental of the rooms where the conference in question was held.

The correction was picked up by Bloomberg, but how many outlets will give the debunking the same prominence that they gave the original (wrong) story?  

Journalism has never been perfect, and will never be, but it hurts when a theme--or as the media types have taken to calling it, a meme--leads to erroneous stories being given great prominence, while as usual the truth never catches the lie.  (Remember the McDonald's hot coffee case a few years ago?)

Last night Scott Pelley, on CBS, had a pretty good interview with David Barger, the CEO of Jet Blue.  In the course of it, Barger opined that we need to get the deficit down.  Shocking, I know.  Pelley then mentioned that Rebuplicans insist on all cuts and Democrats want cuts and tax increases, to which, Barger said that he thought "a combination" was acceptable.  Pelley then came back with a remark along the lines of "but neither side will compromise."

WAIT A DAMN MINUTE.  Rebuplicans insist on NO tax increases (except maybe on working people by not extending the payroll-tax cut).  Democrats say SOME cuts and SOME tax increases--notably, they have not taken a hard line on what percentage of any deficit reduction should come from one side or the other.  So, one party is not willing to compromise, while the other is.  Why is it so hard for news outlets to say that?

(As regular readers will note, this page does not believe that compromise is a good in and of itself.  We have often opposed compromises and expect to do so again.  But accuracy in reporting does seem to be pretty much an unmixed good.)

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