Thursday, December 06, 2007

Krugman does my job so that I don’t have to

Something really has to be done about the state of campaign reporting at the New York Times. On the whole, they have spent far too much column space on handicapping “the horserace” or doing these “Long Run” pieces which are, in most cases, the intellectual equivalent of those “Up Close and Personal” soft-focus biographies they used to run during the Olympics. But when the Times does try to report on an issue, they just seem to make things even worse.

When I read this lazy-ass bit of “journalism” short piece about the Clinton and Obama health insurance proposals by Katherine Seelye in yesterday’s paper, I quickly dismissed it because it lacked even a cursory reference to the context—the current healthcare crisis, with 47 million uninsured, and so many millions more under-insured—and because it made no mention at all of Sen. John Edwards, whose plan is more detailed and more aggressive than either of the other “frontrunner’s” proposals. The story also completely neglects to note that this only seems to be an issue in the Democratic primaries, since none of the Republicans has a plan that even attempts to guarantee coverage to the uninsured.

But, in my haste to be done with this vapid article, I missed perhaps the biggest hint that Seelye is barely even up to a level we might call “phoning it in.” Fortunately, Paul Krugman’s blog has the money quote:

I have a lot of problems with this Kit Seelye piece. It’s kind of weird that the usual “both sides may have a point” reporting gave way to a clear declaration that one side is right — precisely on an issue where many, many health experts believe that Obama is wrong, and that mandates are both feasible and essential. Much better coverage of the issue, I’m sorry to say, in the Murdoch news.

But this takes the cake:

Joseph Antos, a health policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a nonpartisan group.

Is it really possible for a veteran reporter to believe that AEI is nonpartisan? Not even a qualifier, like “right-leaning” or “free-market-oriented”?

Krugman also goes on to point out the Seelye’s numbers don’t compute.

It is important to note that Krugman is no blanket Clinton booster, either. In fact, though he thinks all three of the candidate’s plans are a step in the right direction, he agrees that the Edwards plan is superior—and has previously discussed why with some of the details and the context that Seelye left out.

I can imagine that Seelye might argue that she was on deadline and had a word limit, but none of that explains the bad attribution on AEI. And, if this is all the space that the paper of record has for coverage of the issues, then the editors have some explaining to do, too

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home