Media Matters: The media’s deliberate stupidity

by Jamison Foser at Media Matters for America

For weeks, the news media have been buzzing about earmarks in the recently signed omnibus spending bill. We’ve been told over and over that the bill is “loaded,” “filled,” and “stuffed” with earmarks. Since earmarks made up less than 2 percent of the bill’s total spending, this is a little like saying Alaska is “filled” with people.

But John McCain doesn’t like earmarks, so that’s where the media have focused their attention. (OK, there’s more to it than that, but not much.) Unfortunately, they’ve done so in the most juvenile way possible. Following McCain’s lead, the media’s assessment of the earmarks consists of nothing more than sarcastically listing them, as though they are self-evidently a waste of money. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently described the approach McCain and the Republicans have adopted:

The intellectual incoherence is stunning. Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead.

And the media have gone right along with it, producing news reports about the spending bill that are no more substantive than an adolescent chortle: Heh, heh, he said “pig waste.” Heh.

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