“He said, she said” journalism and the novelty of Politifact

While cruising my morning blogs it struck me how much of political journalism has be come a recounting of statements. Boehner says one thing, Schumer counters with another, and the debate ends there.

The press is meant to be a check on government so abuses of power don’t go unpunished. Abuses occurring in secrecy will eventually be found out and abuses cloaked in lies will be exposed as such.

But under the current model, the reporting of facts is so devolved from the press’s historical role as a referee of facts and honest statements. Edward R. Murrow became a saint of American journalism because he called Joe McCarthy out on his lies.

Which makes it weird to see websites like Politifact actually putting the time in to get to the bottom of the story. Do the facts match politicians statements? After all, isn’t that their function? If not, what purpose do they serve?

I was happy to see this refreshing piece of journalism from Bloomberg, a fairly new news org that’s been stepping it way up lately.

Boehner’s Views on Economy Contradicted byIndicators, Studies

House Speaker John Boehner, giving Wall Street leaders his prescriptions for growing the U.S. economy and reducing the nation’s debt, built his case on several assertions that are contradicted by market indicators and government reports.

Boehner said in his May 9 speech to the Economic Club of New York that government borrowing was crowding out private investment, the 2009 economic-stimulus package hurt job creation, and a Republican plan to privatize Medicare will give future recipients the “same kinds of options” lawmakers have.

With Democrats and Republicans sparring over legislation to extend the government’s $14.29 trillion debt limit and trim budget deficits, negotiations are being complicated by disputes over basic economic facts.

“We’re in this Alice-in-Wonderland world around government-shutdown conversations, the debt-ceiling conversations,” Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, said yesterday at a breakfast at the Bloomberg News Washington bureau. The debate “has not established a shared understanding of the facts” about the nation’s economic problems, he said.

Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, rejected the premise that the speaker’s economic analysis was incorrect, saying in an e-mail that “reality” doesn’t support the criticism.

Boehner’s statement in his Wall Street speech that government spending “is crowding out private investment and threatening the availability of capital” runs counter to the behavior of credit markets.

Loves it. Read the rest at bloomberg.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *