Thursday, December 16, 2004

Fluffy press release analysis, with no follow-up

From CNN: ""The policy of my government is a strong-dollar policy," Bush said during an Oval Office meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Certainly most people will just hear the sound bites at the top of this story. With no follow-up in the press, all that's being reported, and all that will be reported, is WhiteHousePR. It's up to the public to piece these things together, I suppose. You have to wonder what the point of the press is, then. Wouldn't it be cheaper to just print large sheaves of press releases? With ads on the back? It actually might be more real ... people would then understand that they had to figure out the truth.

Later in this story is some fluffy analysis:

"Some economists believe that the administration, while publicly professing support for a strong dollar, actually prefers the decline in the greenback's value against other currencies as a way of dealing with the country's huge trade deficit."

So, the news that a president is lying, isn't a good headline, but "Bush pledges strong-dollar policy" is. Strange decision. But the lie is mentioned again later for emphasis:

"Despite White House expressions of support, the administration has not taken action to prop up the dollar. During Bush's four years in office, not once has the administration intervened in currency markets to support the dollar or done anything else to stop the dollar's slide."

But the motivations mentioned in the article are complete nonsense. The Trade Deficit, for example. Where is the White House motivation to reduce the trade deficit? Or to reduce the budget deficit? Or to "prop up the dollar"? Why is it automatically assumed that these are important measurements? More importantly, why is it assumed that politicians are trying to do something good? Or that they are working in the public interest? Because they say so? Or because they are powerful?


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