Must-Read: Jon Chait: How Jeb Bush’s Tax Cuts Suckered the Media<

Must-Read: Jon Chait gets one wrong. Scott Horsley, Alan Rappaport, Matt Flegenheimer, Patrick O’Connor, John D. MacKinnon, Tal Kopan, and Ashley Killough were not “suckered” by the JEB! campaign. Rather, they are in the business not of informing their readers but of pleasing their sources, and this leads to a situation in which–as one newspaper honcho once told me about his paper and its competitors–“on an average day, you learn more from reading Ezra Klein than from reading the entire output of the national news staff of the New York Times. Put aside Josh Barro at The Upshot (and Matt O’Brien at Wonkblog), and it is still true:

Jon Chait: How Jeb Bush’s Tax Cuts Suckered the Media: “If you have heard about Jeb Bush’s new tax plan by reading political reporters…

…you have probably heard that it is a ‘proposal to reform the tax code’ that will ‘crack down on hedge fund managers’ (CNN), that it is ‘mainstream and ordinary’ with ‘a populist note’ (NPR), that it ‘challenged some long-held tenets of conservative tax policy’ (the New York Times), and has ‘a nod to the populist anger roiling both parties’ (The Wall Street Journal)… the same sort of coverage George W. Bush received when he unveiled his tax cuts in 1999…. If you have learned about the tax plan from some of the new policy-focused writers, you… [learned] is a ‘large tax cut for the wealthiest’ (the Upshot) and a reprise of the Bush tax cuts, but ‘with more exclamation points’ (Wonkblog). The difference lies between journalists who write narratives drawn from quotes from campaign sources and those who build their coverage on data. George W. Bush was fortunate that data-based journalism barely existed 16 years ago. His brother is counting on the power of narrative to obscure the data…

September 15, 2015

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