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November 14, 2004

KING-5 offers fairly unbalanced Social Security coverage

Just caught the tail end of KING-5's "Up Front" broadcast on the controversial topic of privatizing Social Security. [Now there's an oxymoron. --Ed.]  I was really bothered by the disparity between their talking heads.

Representing the radical right was Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute.  He appears to have no significant academic credentials or peer-reviewed publications to his credit, but he is quite telegenic and well rehearsed.  Of course, that's his job -- Cato is a radical right think tank whose sole function is to sell policy solutions to the media and politicians.

Across the screen from Tanner was Doug Orr, Professor of Economics at Eastern Washington University.  Now, Doug seems like a genuine expert, and I'm sure he's a nice guy.  But he's not very telegenic, he didn't have a clear message or the media training to effectively present it. 

Lazy, lazy journalism at work here.  If they wanted to have a "balanced" coversation about the Social Security issues, then they could have at least reached out to "experts" with similar backgrounds and functions -- either both speakers should have been serious academics, or both should have been media flacks.  But to put up a trained right wing flack against a non-media-savvy academic is hardly "balanced" journalism.

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 14, 2004 at 05:12 PM in Candidate Races, Policy | Permalink


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