StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Deficit Non-Reporting

13 Apr 2010
Posted by Andrew Samwick

I read the same Washington Post story on yesterday's release of the Monthly Treasury Statement as did Stan and Brad DeLong and thought it was one of the worst examples of journalism I've seen lately.  No member of the Obama administration spoke on the record for the story.  To report anonymous opinions as if they are news is to have The Washington Post lower, not raise, the quality of the discussion. 

The proper report on the economic news is that the cumulative deficit since the start of the fiscal year is -- for the first time in the fiscal year -- lower than the corresponding number in the prior fiscal year.  That this has finally happened in the sixth month of the fiscal year should indicate to all involved, whether David Cho as the author of the story or the anonymous administration officials, that this event cannot be claimed to be the start of a trend any more than it can be claimed to be another blip.

Anonymous sources are useful when they reveal new facts.  They are not useful when they give spin.  The Washington Post needs to learn the difference.

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