It always amazes me how editors of newspapers can mold public opinion merely by the wording of headline and the placement of a story. The New York Times today gave me another reminder of this insidious practice and ability.
If you recall, last August, the Republican tea- partiers (reminder: There is no Tea Party; they are Republicans) were blocking the necessary raise of the debt ceiling because of their “concern” about runaway spending and the resulting deficit the country was experiencing (reminder: this was all started by George W. Bush, a Republican president who funded two undeclared wars while giving tax cuts to everybody, a first in our history). All we heard about from the Republicans was how our country’s huge deficit was going to destroy our future and, most importantly, the future of our children. Everything that was debated was focused on the deficit, the deficit, and the deficit. If there was one thing that the Republicans harped on, it was the deficit.
Today, the front page of the New York Times has a story about Republican Mitt Romney’s personal surplus, i.e., his wealth. It gossips about how complicated his holdings are, how they are hard to decipher, and the low 15% tax rate he pays. In and of itself, the story has no news value or policy implications and may as well have appeared in People Magazine. Maybe it will.
Buried 15 pages into the paper is another story, a story which the Times feels has less significance than Mitt Romney’s bank account. That story, however, describes how every tax plan put forward by every Republican running for the presidential nomination, including Mitt Romney, will increase our country’s deficit. In other words, while the deficit was used in August to hammer President Obama and almost wreck our financial stature throughout the world, it simply doesn’t matter anymore. What matters, instead, is for the Republicans to pander to big business and the uber-wealthy (reminder: the United States Supreme Court has declared that businesses are people with First Amendment rights and free speech includes buying politicians, and Mitt Romney agrees), without any regard for the deleterious effect their tax plans will have on our economy. (Deficit? What deficit? Who cares about a deficit?)
I should be numb to it by now, but it really bothers me that the New York Times has simply glossed over the sheer hypocrisy displayed by the Republicans. A real journal (they call the writers journalists, but my daughters’ high school calls their gym class Kinetic Wellness, so who knows what anything really means?) would point it out to the populace on the front page of the paper, not page 15. This is important for voters to know. The rascals should be shown for what they are. Apparently, however, the New York Times feels that Mitt Romney’s personal wealth is of such a voyeuristic public interest that it will sell papers, while the policy dogma that actually affects our daily lives is worth, at best, a passing mention.
My take-away is this. President Obama has probably been vigorous in his criticism of the Republicans and in defense of the policies he has tried to implement but they have blocked. We just don’t hear it, and we don’t hear it because it isn’t reported, or it’s buried so deep that people don’t get to it. Until it sorts itself out, the so-called “information age” is just a lot of noise and a huge disappointment; a bunch of cable television channels in print and cyber space.
Photo Credit: Joe Shlabotnik