Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Jacob Weisberg Edition)

Outsourced to Lance Knobel (who I really must have coffee with sometime in the next two weeks):

Lance Knobel: Jacob Weisberg... gets awfully muddled by trying to be politically even-handed.

Any political party counts on having a few hot buttons it can push at those moments when it is a few points behind in the polls with not much time until election day. These issues have certain characteristics -- a whiff of pandering, the flavour of insincerity, an aura of desperation. They aim to stir passion but have little, if any, effect on most people's lives.... Flag-burning has long been such an issue for Republicans. Raising the minimum wage sometimes serves the same purpose for Democrats.

Huh? Raising the minimum wage may be a touchstone issue for Democrats and it almost surely does appeal to the party's base. But how on earth is it "pandering" or insincere? How can anyone argue that it has "little, if any, effect on most people's lives"? And how can anyone equate an issue that has a real economic rationale (whether you want to argue pro or con) with one that is purely stirring emotions?

If you did an analogy test and claimed "flag-burning: Republicans" most resembled "minimum wage: Democrats," you would certainly fail.

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