Thursday, September 11, 2008

With friends like these...

Observing this election cycle, it's become ever more clear that the mainstream press are either unwilling to list facts - or, perhaps, they want to, but simply have no idea how to do it. The mainstream news provides exposure and publicity for candidates, but if a candidate tells the truth, there will be essentially no verification. Therefore the system rewards liars. A columnist hoping to help Obama and hurt McCain could make their point quite well listing and explaining facts. But they screw that up too.

This article,8599,1839724,00.html is very negative toward Sarah Palin. As an Obama supporter, I guess I should be happy. But faced with a situation where simply listing and explaining the facts would cast Palin in a negative light, Kinsley instead takes a very negative, dismissive tone while doing a pretty bad job of explaining himself. The result is that it comes across as a hit piece. Instead of walking away thinking 'Sarah Palin is not so great', I walk away thinking, 'Kinsley really doesn't like her'.

KINSLEY: Palin has continued to repeat the already exposed lie that she said "No, thanks" to the famous "bridge to nowhere" (McCain's favorite example of wasteful federal spending). In fact, she said "Yes, please" until the project became a symbol and political albatross.

Actually, she didn't actually say "Yes, please". Instead of making up a cute "quote" to make his point, he could have said that she continued to support the bridge project for more than a year after it became a symbol and political albatross. The facts make the case much better, if reported correctly, than his snarky cuteness.

KINSLEY: Back to reality. Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident and No. 1 in spending per resident. Its tax burden per resident is 2 1/2 times the national average; its spending, more than double. The trick is that Alaska's government spends money on its own citizens and taxes the rest of us to pay for it. Although Palin, like McCain, talks about liberating ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, there is no evidence that being dependent on Alaskan oil would be any more pleasant to the pocketbook.

Unfortunately, I, the reader, am thoroughly confused. The tax burden of Alaskan residents is 2 1/2 times the national average? And Alaska's spending more than double? How much more than double the national average? Less than 2 1/2 times the national average? Meaning they spend less than they take in? So why do they need Federal funds? What's he trying to say? I feel like it's Kinsley tricking me rather than Palin.

Oh, Okay. Now that I've re-read it for the fourth time, I think he might have meant that Alaska's spending is more than double their tax revenue. It was very clever to bring in the subject of dependence on foreign oil - cleverer still to come up with the hilarious phrase "pleasant to the pocketbook". If only he was clever enough to explain the situation without confusing the reader. Thanks, Michael Kinsley, but no thanks. See? I can do clever too. Can I have my six figure salary now?


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