The New York Times botched a story today, which is why the New York Times sucks — today.
The headline of the story is “Dispute Over Budget Deepens a Rift Within the G.O.P..”
It’s a rather dry story about the federal budget and internal squabbling among Republicans in Congress.
However, in the story the New York Times presents a GOP talking point as fact.
“It was the Old Guard versus the Tea Party, but with real ramifications, as Congress careens toward another debt limit and spending crisis this fall with seemingly no one at the steering wheel.”
That phrase “spending crisis” has Frank Lutz all over it. He must be so proud of his work. He can even trick the liberal bastian that is the New York Times.
As a journalist, the obvious question is whether or not there is a “spending crisis” in the US. That’s what Republicans want everyone to think, which explains the number of times I have heard Republicans say, “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.”
While they may be correct, the data doesn’t support the claim.
In fact, in this very story, the New York Times reports:
“The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated this month that the deficit for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, will fall to about $642 billion, or 4 percent of the nation’s annual economic output, less than half the 2011 deficit and about $200 billion lower than the agency had estimated three months ago.
The agency forecast that the deficit, which topped 10 percent of the gross domestic product in 2009, could shrink to as little as 2.1 percent of the G.D.P. by 2015, a level most analysts say would be easily sustainable over the long run.”
So why does the New York Times want to report on a “spending crisis,” if it doesn’t exist? That’s because crisises get people interested in reading the newspaper. Budgets are boring, but a “spending crisis,” now that’s something to talk about.
Another reason is that the reporters are getting punked by the GOP and wordsmiths like Frank Lutz. If you say it over and over again, is it still a lie? According to the GOP and the news media, apparently it is not.
A more accurate phrase would be “GOP invented crisis” rather than “spending crisis,” or better yet, just drop the reference to a crisis altogether.