Seniors Road Kill For Dumb Journalists

In General Interest by Jonathan Tasini0 Comments

I write often about the transcribers of press releases (formerly known as “journalists”). Every day, I am ashamed of the profession I generally am associated with — lazy, stupid, ideologically blind. It’s not an idle annoyance — the absolutely bankruptcy of most of the traditional press ends up costing lives, not that the transcribers of press releases understand this. Which brings me to the shameful article by Robert Pear.

In the stupidity over the phone deficit and debt “crisis”, and its political bastard, the “fiscal cliff”, the ideological bat-shit crazy people (we call them “Republicans”) who want to cut Social Security are out in droves — helped by some really dumb Democrats. Pear writes:

In failed deficit reduction talks last year, Mr. Obama signaled a willingness to consider substantial changes in the social safety net, including a gradual increase in the eligibility age for Medicare and limits in the growth rate of future Social Security benefits. An urgent question hanging over the new round of deficit talks is which of those changes Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats would accept today.

While a potential change in calculating Social Security increases was part of the talks with Speaker John A. Boehner last year, the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, made clear on Monday that the administration was not considering changes to the retirement program as part of the deficit talks.

“We should address the drivers of the deficit, and Social Security is not currently a driver of the deficit,” Mr. Carney said.

Actually, Carney understates the problem: Social Security has nothing to do–NOTHING– with the annual budget deficits or long-term debt. But, the bigger problem is: the reporter does not state that basic fact, or at least quote an expert like Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, to lay down that fact.

Instead, it’s left to just sit there as a comment made by a White House press secretary — and it, then, has the flavor of simply a political statement in the back-and-forth between the two “sides” of the debate. So, the average reader is given the impression of a false equivalency — one side arguing that Social Security needs to be cut versus the other arguing it is not “a driver of the deficit”.

This is not one political argument versus another. It’s political posturing lacking any facts versus a stark economic truth. And, so, Pear gets a big FAIL in doing the job he should do — make clear what is bullshit and what is fact.

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