CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research

Multimedia

En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press AP Follows Fox and Washington Post in Surrendering Commitment to Objectivity

AP Follows Fox and Washington Post in Surrendering Commitment to Objectivity

Print
Sunday, 24 October 2010 15:20

AP appears to be following in the steps of Fox and the Washington Post as it joins the crusade for deficit reduction and ignores normal journalistic standards of objectivity. The first sentence of an article that asserts that the Obama administration will make deficit reduction the top priority of his second term describes the country as "a nation sick of spending." There is zero evidence to support this position in the article. There are also no sources within the Obama administration cited for an article titled "Obama likely to focus on deficit in next two years."

At one point the article tells readers that the country wants to see reduced spending, then lists a number of small programs which voters are willing to see cut if it is necessary to get deficits down. It would have been worth pointing out that these programs taken together would have only a very modest impact on spending even if they were eliminated altogether.

The article tells readers:

"Moving to the fore will be a more serious focus on how to balance the federal budget and pay for the programs that keep sinking the country into debt." In fact, it is not "programs" that keep sinking the country in debt, but rather the recession, as can be easily shown. The main cause of the run-up in debt associated with the downturn was a falloff of tax revenue and an increase in spending on automatic stabilizers, like unemployment compensation.

The article then tells readers:

"In other times, that discussion might seem like dry, Washington talk. Not now. People are fed up with federal spending, particularly as many remain jobless." Of course the reason that the federal government is spending more is because "many remain jobless." The statement would be like saying that people are upset with the fire department's use of water, especially at a time when the city is seeing so many fires. In the old days, reporters would have investigated how people could be so confused, if in fact they are, instead of trying to propagate such confusion.

The article later tells readers that:

"Obama defends the huge economic stimulus plan and the bailout of U.S. automakers, and doesn't blame people for getting tired of all the spending." A real reporter would have written this sentence without the word "huge." It is an especially bizarre adjective since the size of the net stimulus from the government sector was about $150 billion a year, a bit more than one-tenth of the size of the lost private sector demand.

Finally, the article gets billions and trillion confused when it tells readers:

"The yearly budget deficit stands at $1.3 billion."

This level of confusion is typical for this article which clearly is intended to promote a deficit reduction agenda rather than inform readers about the issues involved.

Comments (9)Add Comment
...
written by izzatzo, October 24, 2010 4:11
Of course the reason that the federal government is spending more is because "many remain jobless." The statement would be like saying that people are upset with the fire department's use of water, especially at a time when the city is seeing so many fires.


That's cute Mr Whose Your Nanny, but wrong as usual. Any Teabagger Libertarian who works as a reporter with AP knows that fire departments cause fires because they're a moral hazard, just like government spending and deficits are a moral hazard that cause unemployment.

People are careless and cause more fires because they know a socialist fire department will come runnning if there's a fire, the same way they won't look for work and the private sector won't spend, as long as they know government instead will crowd it out with spending on socialist jobs.

The AP didn't give up its objectivity by joining WaPo and Fox News, it acquired in the interest of spreading truth with those who already understand that the root cause of the recession and unemployment is moral hazard generated by a socialist government.

Stupid liberals.
The issue at hand is that of the pubic benefit vs. private profit.
written by Scott ffolliott, October 24, 2010 5:22

The issue at hand is that of the pubic benefit vs. private profit.
Good Parody!
written by F. Beard, October 24, 2010 6:40
People are careless and cause more fires because they know a socialist fire department will come runnning if there's a fire, the same way they won't look for work and the private sector won't spend, as long as they know government instead will crowd it out with spending on socialist jobs. izzatzo

Ha,ha! Good parody of an idiot.
...
written by Bozo, October 24, 2010 6:52
What are they going to say when they cut spending and the economy goes back into recession and the unemployment rate breaks 11%?

balance sheet recession in private sector + balance sheet recession in public sector = balance sheet recession for the public and private sector.

simple math.
Obama is sick of being President
written by Paul, October 24, 2010 10:23
Why else would he want to cut spending with unemployment at 10%? Being President is a tough job and he has no agenda for a second term anyway.
Talking Drums
written by Ron Alley, October 25, 2010 6:17
A piece in todays NYT picks up the drumbeat with a slightly different slant --

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10...da.html?hp

After two years of operating at loggerheads with Republicans, Mr. Obama and his aides are planning a post-election agenda for a very different political climate. They see potential for bipartisan cooperation on reducing the deficit, passing stalled free-trade pacts and revamping the education bill known as No Child Left Behind — work that Arne Duncan, Mr. Obama’s education secretary, says could go a long way toward repairing “the current state of anger and animosity.”

It really is the agenda of the Corporate Party of America that is at stake.
...
written by ComradeAnon, October 25, 2010 11:46
AP has been on that path for a long time. Nothing new here.
Automatic stabilizer fact check
written by Ed Dolan, October 25, 2010 1:34
I know you are always very keen on fact-checking the Washington Post, so checker, check thyself:

"The main cause of the run-up in debt associated with the downturn was a falloff of tax revenue and an increase in spending on automatic stabilizers, like unemployment compensation."

According to the Congressional Budget Office the deficit reached its cyclical minimum in 2007, at 1.2 percent of GDP, with none of that accounted for by automatic stabilizers. Two years later in 2009, the deficit hit is cyclical maximum of 9.3 percent of GDP with 1.9 accounted for by automatic stabilizers. That means that discretionary budget changes accounted for some 6.3 percentage points of the 8.1 percentage point swing into deficit. (There seems to be a rounding error in this part of the table because the numbers don't add up by 0.1 percent of GDP.) Check it out.
missing URL
written by Ed Dolan, October 25, 2010 1:36
Sorry, I messed up the url for the CBO table. Here it is: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/114...lizers.pdf

Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.

busy
 

CEPR.net
Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613

About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

Archives