Right as I was leaving on my long break, there was an interesting debate on the front end of that whole debt crisis thingee. Should any blame for the fiasco be doled out to so-called "balanced journalism"? -- the all-too-entrenched newsroom notion that the fact-free arguments of the Tea Party should be given equal weight to, um, actual economics. I think the answer to that question is "yes" -- phony assertions about taxes or the Ronald Reagan myth shouldn't be the "on one hand" to reality (and its well-known liberal bias) "on the other hand." In that context, it's interesting to read the home page of the New York Times tonight.
Their coverage of our economic train wreck isn't very "balanced" at all.
The events of the last few weeks — gridlock in Washington, brinksmanship over raising the debt ceiling, Standard & Poor’s downgrade of long-term Treasuries, renewed fears about European debt and a dizzying plunge in the stock market — bear an intriguing resemblance to some of the events of 1937-38, the so-called recession within the Depression, with a major caveat: it was a lot worse back then. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 49 percent from its peak in 1937. Manufacturing output fell by 37 percent, a steeper decline than in 1929-33. Unemployment, which had been slowly declining, to 14 percent from 25 percent, surged to 19 percent. Price declines led to deflation.
But even before that, macroeconomists and private sector forecasters were warning that the direction in which the new House Republican majority had pushed the White House and Congress this year — for immediate spending cuts, no further stimulus measures and no tax increases, ever — was the wrong one for addressing the nation’s two main ills, a weak economy now and projections of unsustainably high federal debt in coming years.
Instead, these critics say, Washington should be focusing on stimulating the economy in the near term to induce people to spend money and create jobs, while simultaneously settling on a long-term plan for paying down federal debts.
Also this, regarding the GOP no-tax pledge:
But that’s just it — what any independent-minded voter saw in that moment were eight people who were not, in fact, serious about governing. They were serious about pandering to the marginal elements of their party. That’s about it.
I'd call that reality-based reporting, although I have this weird suspicion that a few of you out there consider it liberal bias from the lamestream media. Discuss. And then until Sunday night, I bid you Adu.