Saturday, December 11, 2004

Press Coverage of the Social Security "Debate"

For the last week or so, Bob Somerby, in The Daily Howler has been exposing the media bias in favor of privatizing social security. This bias takes the form of ignoring the relatively stable condition of the system as it is and the minor adjustments in revenue collection necessary to keep it stable beyond the time it is forecast to become "bankrupt," while noting again and again that without radical reform (read privatization) the system is doomed. Today he takes on David Brooks, asking whether he is "stupid or storebought." From what I've read of Brooks in the Times over the past year or so I'm not convinced it's not both. Yesterday he exposed Bruce Morton and Aaron Brown, on Thursday it was Lou Dobbs, on Wednesday the reliable Tim Russert, Tuesday it was Brooks again, and on Monday it was The Washington Post Editorial Page and John Kasich of the Times.
Of major pundits, only Krugman(registration required) can be relied on to offer some kind of balance to the prevailing opining that the ONLY way to save social security is through privatization. This bias in the media is being covered by Media Matters for America too.

Why is Krugman the only one explaining how Social Security actually works and how it can be preserved with only relatively minor revenue adjustments? Is the whole process just too complicated for these other scribes to analyze? Are they afraid of being on the wrong side of big pundit conventional wisdom? And why does nobody point out the hypocrisy of Bush and the Republicans pushing so hard for what is essentially the dismantling of Social Security as we've known it for seventy years when they often and loudly spent the month of October calling John Kerry a fearmonger for saying that was what they had in mind?
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