Sunday, December 27, 2009

On Newspapers and Spectator Sports

I don't read newspapers very often. Yesterday morning, I was sitting in our family room, having coffee with my wife* and was reading the San Diego Union. The news story on the front page had something to do with some government budgetary issue. The piece was written like it was a sporting event. There were a few facts and then there were reactions from Democrats and Republicans as if their contests were what mattered. Nowhere in the story did it talk about what the reader was going to face as a consequence of the decisions being made by the government. We had as much to do with what was going on as fans at a football game.

As I read the piece, my reaction to the author's point of view seemed odd until I realized what was going on. I was used to reading blogs like Instapundit and Mish where the blog is focused on what the news means to me. Mish and the Puppy Blender succeed because what they write is aimed at me as a participant instead of me as a spectator. I'm not nearly as concerned with what Harry Reid has to say so much as I am with what Treasury auctions are going to do.

By the way, here are a few facts for you. The Federal deficit will be higher in 2010 than it was in 2009 - about $1.5T. The Chinese have less of a surplus this year than they did last year and have already told us that their purchases of Treasuries will slow down. Last year, the Treasury auctions were greased by the Fed printing $1.1T of money backed by absolutely nothing that was then used to buy $300B of Treasuries and lots of other government debt besides. Mr. Reporter probably doesn't know this or know what it means.

I'm going back to reading my blogs.

* - marrying her was the best thing I ever did. We had a fantastic Christmas.

Update: Instalanche! Thanks, Glenn. I'd suggest that people click around the site, but I'm not sure that would help much. This is a wacky, eclectic blog and I write about whatever comes to mind. In any case, thanks for visiting, all of you. You've made my day. Y'all come back now, y'hear?


Tim Eisele said...

I think the problem was summed up nicely in an article I just read yesterday in "The Economist", regarding what Socrates probably would have thought about US politics (based on his known opinions about Athenian politics).

Basically, people are not talking to discover truth. They are only talking to win.

One particularly appropriate quote from the article (which is incidentally from 1968, which shows that some problems are ongoing):

"There is a pathos in television dialogue: the rapid exchange of monologues that fail to find the issue, like ships passing in the night; the reiterate preface, "I think that . . .", as if it mattered who held which opinion rather than which opinion is worth holding; the impressive personal vanity that prevents each "discussant" from really listening to another speaker".

It's no wonder that the reporters are covering politics as if it were a sporting event. The *politicians* are approaching it as a sporting event, and so it is only natural.

PD Quig said...

The politicians are missing a sea change in the American socio-political landscape. An unsustainable debt piled up by politicians who ignore their constituents is setting a fuse to volatile mix. It could end in more than just an electoral tar and feathering.

Don't push us too far, DC.

bandit said...

I'll offer another reason - the AP release about the undi-bomber listed his point of departure, his nationality, his presence on terrorist watchlists, the fact it was Christmas Day and then included "His motive is unclear". That kind of crap is just not worth paying for.

K T Cat said...

I agree with these comments, but I feel there's lots of room for optimism here. After all, we didn't have the blogs 10 years ago.