But the Times just pretends to report: Incomparably, your Daily Howler seemed to be getting results!
Last Saturday, we started our current Memewatch series. We've been tracking the standard GOP claim in which Republicans say, “What, us worry?” concerning that silly debt limit.
After watching Rachel last Thursday, we had finally heard enough. We still haven’t gotten around to discussing her clownish performance—and today, we must defer to the mighty New York Times.
Finally, there it was! Right on page one, the New York Times seemed to be reporting on this standard GOP presentation!
We say the Times seemed to be reporting because that’s all they actually do. Jonathan Weisman has written the piece, in which he pretends to report on this topic.
This is a classic pseudo-report. Weisman starts like this:
WEISMAN (10/9/13): Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, a reliable friend of business on Capitol Hill and no one’s idea of a bomb thrower, isn’t buying the apocalyptic warnings that a default on United States government debt would lead to a global economic cataclysm.Burr is “no one’s idea of a bomb thrower,” Weisman happily says. Whatever that is supposed to tell us, the genial Burr “isn’t buying” the idea that the debt limit is a big deal!
“We always have enough money to pay our debt service,” said Mr. Burr, who pointed to a stream of tax revenue flowing into the Treasury as he shrugged off fears of a cascading financial crisis. “You’ve had the federal government out of work for close to two weeks; that’s about $24 billion a month. Every month, you have enough saved in salaries alone that you’re covering three-fifths, four-fifths of the total debt service, about $35 billion a month. That’s manageable for some time.”
Weisman shows the genial solon making a form of the standard presentation. Burr says it will be easy to “pay our debt service” even if the debt limit isn’t raised.
From there, Weisman pretends to offer a fell-length, front-page report about this critical, complex matter.
In fairness to Weisman, he shows Burr advancing a rather incoherent version of the standard presentation. We’ll guess the incoherence comes from the Times more than from Burr himself.
Whatever! From that point on, Weisman seems to report the basic facts about this complex matter. But the whole thing’s a front-page pretense.
Weisman goes on and on and on, but he rarely moves beyond the basic “he said/she said/they said/they said” reporting format. He never quite explains what “debt service” or “default” really are. He never explains if there is more than one type or degree of “default.”
Suppose we don’t raise the debt limit. Weisman never explains what will happen even if we find a way to keep paying our formal “debt service.” Whatever that is.
He never attempts to explain what other kinds of government service would have to be summarily dumped. Nor does he really try to explain if we would even be able to pay our formal “debt service.”
Technically, would that even be possible? The Times doesn't try to say.
All the way to the end of his piece, Weisman just keeps quoting Republican solons saying there’s nothing to worry about if we don’t raise the debt limit. He makes little attempt to sort out the competing claims about this allegedly crucial matter.
The most awful part comes at the end:
In the most awful words known to modern journalism, we’re told that “Ashley Parker contributed reporting” to this pitiful pseudo-report. In truth, this is a version of Parker’s ridiculous front-page piece from October 1, in which she reported that various Republicans say they believe in the various things they are doing.
The New York Times stopped being an real newspaper some time ago. This morning, the Howler seemed to be getting results. But that wasn't the case. In reality, Weisman and his editor only pretend to report on this topic.
What will happen if we don’t raise the debt limit later this month? The answer to that question is said to be crucial. But the New York Times is too frightened, too faux, to tattle, confess or tell.