Friday, July 29, 2011

QOTD: The centrist cop-out

Quote of the Day:
The facts of the crisis over the debt ceiling aren’t complicated. Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage, threatening to undermine the economy and disrupt the essential business of government unless they get policy concessions they would never have been able to enact through legislation. And Democrats — who would have been justified in rejecting this extortion altogether — have, in fact, gone a long way toward meeting those Republican demands.

As I said, it’s not complicated. Yet many people in the news media apparently can’t bring themselves to acknowledge this simple reality. News reports portray the parties as equally intransigent; pundits fantasize about some kind of “centrist” uprising, as if the problem was too much partisanship on both sides.

Some of us have long complained about the cult of “balance,” the insistence on portraying both parties as equally wrong and equally at fault on any issue, never mind the facts. I joked long ago that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read “Views Differ on Shape of Planet.” But would that cult still rule in a situation as stark as the one we now face, in which one party is clearly engaged in blackmail and the other is dickering over the size of the ransom?

The answer, it turns out, is yes. And this is no laughing matter: The cult of balance has played an important role in bringing us to the edge of disaster. For when reporting on political disputes always implies that both sides are to blame, there is no penalty for extremism. Voters won’t punish you for outrageous behavior if all they ever hear is that both sides are at fault. - Paul Krugman

1 comment:

Jim Harris said...

My guess is this blackmail is happening because the democrats actually believe the general public wants what the Republicans are demanding.

I'm tired of this gridlock of partisan politics. I think more issues should be decided by national referendums. I also believe Congress should stop packaging bundles of laws for one vote. Each issue should be voted on separately.

For example, with raising the debt ceiling. It should be yes or no on this single issue. No bartering on other issues. Every issue needs to stand on its own.