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October 15, 2007

Deficit Falls To Lowest Level In Five Years, NYT, WaPo, and LAT All Refuse To Report On It

BizzyBlog corrects a bit and notes that the NYT (accidentally!) put a brief AP blurb about the story on page A22, but I'm going to count that cleanly as "not reporting the story." A22 is where you bury stories. Certainly no NYT journalistic resources were devoted to the story.

Two Sundays ago Howie Kurtz asked representatives of the Washington Post and CNN why the plunge in Iraqi deaths (and US servicemen's death) had gotten almost no play at all in the MSM. They robotically claimed it was because they couldn't be sure the trend would hold. Though they agreed that if deaths rose, that was automatically a story, no need for a "stable trend line" to be newsworthy.

The deficit figures put lie to this claim. Check out BizzyBlog's chart and there is no doubt whatsoever that we have a sustained five-year trend. Five years. Consistent trend. And yet the media will claim they're not reporting on this because... hmm, the likely candidate is that it's such an obvious trend that it doesn't need to be reported at all. It's just "more of the same," which is not newsworthy.

I'm always amused by the contortions the MSM will twist itself into in claiming that some set of neutral apolotical rules justify its plainly politicized coverage. On one hand they'll claim that if it's a "new story," a "change in the narrative," it's newsworthy -- unless that new story is the plummeting death rate in Iraq, in qhich case they need a three or four year trend line before it becomes newsworthy.

Of course, as their deficit non-coverage proves, the moment they have that long-term trend they will claim it's just "more of the same" and hence no longer newsworthy. So when it comes to news that could possibly benefit Bush, support tax cuts and pro-business policies, or improve public support of the war, the rule seems to flip from "we need a trend to report it at all" to "now there's a trend but that means there's no news here" without a second of pause between them.

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posted by Ace at 02:38 PM

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