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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, February 12, 2010

Creatively Titled Friday Paul Ryan Post

by folkbum

One of the most frustrating things about the whole current Paul Ryan situation--his suddenly elevated national status ahead of a likely 2012 Senate run--is that the media here at home have failed to do what national media have done in response. Ryan, for example, gets a regular page in the Racine Journal Times with no checks on his accuracy or partisan balance offered.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the state's largest paper and the respectable face of the state's largest media organization, has given Ryan fawning piece after fawning piece for years now. In this current wave, the story for them has been repeatedly something along the lines of, "Wow, look at all the attention Paul Ryan is getting!" This morning's story by Diana Marrero is no exception. This is somewhat funny, since the impetus for the story seems to be criticism from Ryan's opponents that the local media from Democrats that Ryan is getting no scrutiny for substance, just attention for being suddenly nationally visible.

Merrero's story includes this disappointing paragraph, which exemplifies the problem:
Ryan's plan tackles annual federal deficits by changing Medicare into a voucher program for people under 55, introducing individual accounts for the Social Security program and eliminating the tax preference for employer-sponsored insurance. His plan also would eventually raise the retirement age to 70 and reduce the growth of Social Security benefits over the long term.
Nowhere does the story actually mention several key facts about Ryan's plan, including a brand-new consumption tax on all Americans. And the key fact that despite this tax, Ryan's believes that the deficit wouldn't go away for 50 years. And the key fact that nonpartisan analysts (including the CBO) show the deficits wouldn't go away at all, which make Ryan's plan to "tackle" the deficit no such thing.

Repeatedly in the local media Ryan is lauded merely for being prominent. It would be nice to see some scrutiny applied to why that is so.

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