Thursday, February 14, 2013

Is there media bias? Duh.

The coverage of the State of the Union was almost as odd as Obama's speech.  On the one hand the President proposed to increase the minimum wage - which based on the best evidence possible suggests that only  $1 in $7 actually goes to poor people.   He also argued for an expansion of a program (Head Start) where most of the research suggests that the effects of this tripling of current federal spending wears off by the third grade.   There was almost no analysis of whether these programs or proposals would actually be successful in achieving a good public policy goal.  Yet the speech was covered in initial stories and then in a couple of follow up stories about his barnstorming trips to pimp his programs.     

You might ask what the coverage of the response offered by the loyal opposition has been.   No there has not been a detailed recitation of the premises of promises of the speech.  Indeed, in some cases like the Sacramento Brochure (the much diminished local paper offered in my home town) the coverage was a) the GOP gave a response and b) the Speaker actually consumed water during the speech.  Even the NYT did not carry a transcript of the Rubio Speech.   Somehow a number of papers found a way to print the transcript of the President's speech.   Indeed about the only coverage the Times gave the speech by Rubio was an opinion piece (which is what most of the coverage of both speeches actually was) which sniffed that Rubio " followed the Republican rebranding strategy by rephrasing the party’s grand old policies without offering any new ideas."   The local paper here only covered that Mr. Rubio drank water and then speculated on what the political effect of water consumption was on public policy.  It is not hard to understand why an increasing number of Americans are no longer consuming the propaganda of the mainstream media.

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