News?

February 27, 2009

It doesn’t surprise me that newspapers are going out of business.  One way they shoot themselves in the foot is letting editorials contaminate news stories.  This is an example from a recent front page story:

Headline: “Obama proposes tax hike on high incomes to jump-start health-care reform”

Written by:  Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear of The New York Times and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Andrew Taylor of The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Fourth paragraph: “The tax proposal, coming after years in which wealth has become more concentrated at the top of the income scale, puts a politically volatile edge on the congressional debate over the president’s domestic priorities.”

As someone who likes to review such claims on wealth concentration to decide for myself , I was disappointed not to find a source for the statement in the article.   Also, as someone with an open mind who has seen compelling evidence to the contrary of that statement,  I was interested to see if new data might change my mind.   Yet, the statement is there as if it were an indisputable fact, like saying the  Earth revolves around the Sun.

Editing that out of the paragraph doesn’t change the news value of the story one bit: “The tax proposal puts a politically volatile edge on the congressional debate over the president’s domestic priorities.”

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