The Washington Post once again jumped over the line separating the news section from the editorial section and fiction from reality. It ran a tribute to North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad on the front page of the business section.
Conrad, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee and perhaps the biggest deficit hawk in the senate, is retiring at the end of the year. His views on the deficit closely parallel the views of the Post editorial page, hence the tribute.
In praising Conrad the article repeatedly makes reference to the report of the Bowles-Simpson commission. In fact, there was no report of the Bowles-Simpson commission. The report that the article is referring to is the report of the co-chairs of the commission, former Senator Alan Simpson and Morgan Stanley director Erskine Bowles.
In order for a report to have been approved by the commission it would have needed the support of 14 members of the commission. This report only had the support of 11 members. As a result, the chairs never even put the report up for a formal vote.
Since the Post's editorial page is sympathetic to the report of the co-chairs, it apparently feels it is appropriate to misrepresent the report as a report of the commission itself. This has the effect of giving the report greater legitimacy. This is the sort of behavior that has led the Post to be known as "Fox on 15th Street."
Readers of this piece should have been warned. The second sentence refers to Conrad as "a lonely Cassandra." Of course Cassandra was the person who foretold of the disaster that eventually befell Troy.
By contrast, Senator Conrad completely missed the disaster that was made inevitable by the growth of the housing bubble. Instead, he was diverting the public's attention from this imminent crisis with his complaints about budget deficits even at a time when the deficits were relatively modest.
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