This weekend brought two classic examples of controlling the outcome by controlling what facts are selected for consideration or what options are available for action.
The first example began a week ago, when The New York Times presented readers with the opportunity to develop plans to eradicate the deficit. In its “Week in Review” section, it gave readers about 40 options, some of which raised more revenues, others of which cut spending. In all cases, the Times told us the financial impact of each option and asked readers to devise plans to cut at least $1.345 trillion from the deficit.
Yesterday the Times published a chart that told the percentage of the nearly 7,000 people who put plans together recommending each of the options. The Times also broke out what those who prefer tax increases wanted versus what those who preferred spending cuts wanted.
The problem is that the Times cooked the books beforehand by the options it selected. The Times never explains why it proposes the options it does, but an analysis of the only two deficit-fixing choices in the healthcare arena suggest that the editors were trying to move the country rightward:
- Cap Medicare growth starting in 2013.
- Enact medical malpractice reform.
FYI, enacting malpractice reform means putting a cap on the money someone who has been physically harmed by a physician or hospital can get.
Funny the Times should mention something that will help physicians get richer while doing little to cut medical costs, but it did not mention the following other options to stem Medicare costs:
- Raise the Medicare tax a half percent on people making more than $100,000 per year.
- Institute a “best practices” project that determines and then mandates “best practices” for treating illnesses based on analyzing the medical evidence.
- Force nicotine-addicted, diabetic and obese Medicare recipients into wellness programs if they want to maintain benefits.
All of these options drive the conversation to the left, and so would never occur to any of the mainstream news media. The Times selects the options that keep us moving towards the right.
No surprise, there.
But who would have thunk that the left-leaning New York Review of Books would also use selection to move the political conversation to the right. In the latest issue, the venerable NY Review of Books, which has long been our nation’s de facto intellectual and academic publication of record, included these two articles:
- Janet Malcomb’s Maileresque I-was-there narrative about attending the Comedy Central rally on the Washington, D. C. Mall.
- Mark Lilla’s review of three books by Glenn Beck and two books about Beck, which Lilla anchors by focusing to a large degree on the significance in Beck’s career of his “Restoring Honor” rally, also on the Mall during the past election season.
Do any of my dear readers recognize what’s missing?
Answer is…the rally of labor unions and progressives, also on the Mall during the last election season.
The progressive rally is missing from this issue of the New York Review of Books, which to a large degree is dedicated to analyzing the past election. Missing, just as it was missing in mainstream news media coverage for the most part, despite the fact that according to the consensus of reputable estimates, about the same number of people attended all three of these rallies.
Despite the fact that far fewer than half a million people read The New York Review of Books, its pages are among the most influential when it comes to writing the political and economic history of any election, era or decade. What that means is that when the history of this time in American politics is written, one more sign that progressives actually have as many adherents as the Tea Party phalange will likely go unnoted. By selection, the editorial board of the New York Review of Books has voted to join the mainstream media and move the country rightwards.