Friday, January 30, 2009

The Truth, Plus Distortion

There's no reason for news media to treat Americans like dunces.

This week's shameful partisan spat over the stimulus plan is shocking enough. “Not one person felt his or her district needed to have any of this assistance?” Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, asked of Republicans. “That can’t be.”

Even papers that generally keep a high standard have played loose with the facts in their summaries of the stimulus bill.

It's misleading to overlook the huge scope of proposed tax cuts, which even if they were reduced by half would still be the largest portion of the package. See the previous blog for details). The only programs mentioned there are $50 million for the NEA, $335 million for family planning, $70 million for a supercomputer for a weather facility, and $75 million for smoking treatment.

Let's put that in proper perspective. Added together, all of those programs total less than one percent of the proposed package. In fact, they aren't even one-tenth of one percent of the proposed package. That's right: 99.95% of it passes without criticism.

There's simply no need to distort a bill to emphasize old grievances like funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. That money isn't even one-thousandth of one-percent of the proposal, so it deserves no greater proportion of our attention.

We Americans can handle the truth. Give us the facts in proper perspective and we'll make our own judgments. If a party, or a paper, can't win our approval without tricks, they don't deserve it.

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