Debt ceiling reality

I ran across this story on CNN a bit ago.  It’s titled “Debt ceiling: Time to get real” and it’s written by “Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer”

Hey I thought, lets see what CNN has to say, maybe they’ll inject some facts into the stupidity about this that I’ve been hearing lately.

So I read it.  Here are some quotes:

  • Indeed, the debt problem won’t be resolved — and may even be made worse — by not raising the ceiling.
  • Even if Congress never approves another spending increase or tax cut, the debt ceiling will need to be raised repeatedly just so the country can continue meeting its obligations already on the books.
  • Raising the ceiling is also not a failure of leadership, as President Obama asserted when he was a senator.

I would take these one at a time and demonstrate how utterly and completely false each statement is, but that really isn’t the point of this post.

The point I wanted to make is the CNN is obviously trying to morph into a FoxNews-like organization, where the facts don’t matter.  In fact, the facts are intentionally distorted and taken out of context and used as the basis for an opinion piece that’s disguised as news.

That’s what I do dammit!  But I don’t try to pretend that I’m an impartial news organization who simply reports what happened.  You know right up front that I’m simply stating my opinion – albeit I try to demonstrate why I hold the particular opinion by presenting supporting evidence.

Anyway, the real purpose of this post is to point out that nowhere on the CNN page, nowhere in the story itself, and nowhere in the URL does CNN give any indication that this is an editorial or opinion piece.  Even the liberal NY Times and the conservative WSJ are careful to label their opinion pieces as “editorial” or “opinion”.  Even the URL to these pages makes it clear that it’s an opinion, not a hard news story.

For example, here are some NY Times opinion pieces and editorials:

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/opinion/31thu3.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss (Opinion in the URL, labeled “The Opinion Pages” at the top, and it says “EDITORIAL”  just above the headline)
  • http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/assessing-americas-energy-choices/ (Clearly a blog from the URL and in case it isn’t clear, there’s a giant “The Opinion Pages” at the top of the page)
  • http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/when-a-girl-is-executed-for-being-raped/ (Same as above)
  • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704559904576231012132521614.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop (“Opinion” clearly in the URL and clearly labeled as opinion on the page)
  • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703712504576233140730614876.html?mod=WSJ_newsreel_opinion (Ditto)

Now look at the URL and the page of the (clearly opinion) CNN story I referenced. (http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/31/news/economy/debt_ceiling_debate/index.htm)

It’s even labeled as being in the “news” section in the URL. Go ahead and look at the page.  Nowhere does it give ANY indication that it’s simply the personal view of Jeanne Sahadi.  But that’s all it is.  It carries no more weight and has no more basis in fact than anything I might write on this blog.  In fact it has less – because Jeanne Sahadi makes several demonstratively incorrect statements that wouldn’t pass first base as a real news story.

Ditto for the shit that FoxNews posts daily.  Take a look at this story and see if you can find any indication that it’s an opinion piece.  Here’s the full URL: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/03/31/lots-talk-shutdown-looming/

Again, absolutely nothing to indicate that this is anything but a news story, it pretends to be simply reporting the facts.  But if you bother to read it, you find statements like:

  • This time, though, the pushback will come from liberals and pork aficionados who see their prized programs being cut.
  • Biden and Boehner are ready to make a deal, but many in Congress still believe that a government shutdown, perhaps of limited duration, will still occur after April 9.

Anyway, my point is that I have absolutely zero problem with anyone or their opinion.  I may think you’re wrong, but hey, you probably think I’m wrong too.  You’d be wrong to think that, but you have a right to be wrong. 🙂

If you are slanting a story on way or another, or if you’re simply stating your opinion, no problemo.  But when you slant a story and/or state your opinion under the guise of a real fact-based news story, now you’re wrong.  You’re lying – pretending to be something other than what you are.

As J.C. Watts famously said “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.”  CNN and FoxNews should post that at the top of every monitor at every “news” writer desk.  Because they are failing miserably at it.

And they’d most likely cheat at solitaire.

gk

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