Monday, February 13, 2006

Report critical of President makes Bushbots freak

So we find out that a Republican committee in the House of Representatives has found that hundreds suffered and died because President Bush didn't cut through the bureaucracy to help those affected by Katrina. So what's the response of the Bushbots? Why, simple! "These newspapers talk about how President Bush failed, but don't mention that the same report also blasts Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco!".

I.e., the newspapers are biased! It's that dastardly "liberal press" at work again!

The only problem with that notion is that it completely disregards the difference between news and not-news. News is when something unusual happens. Not-news is when something usual happen. If a man goes to work in the morning then comes home at night and eats then sleeps, that's not-news. If a man goes to work in the morning and discovers a drowned body in the executive washroom, that's unusual (I certainly *hope* that finding drowned bodies in the executive washroom is unusual, anyhow!). That's news.

Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco are not the President of the United States. They are the mayor and governor of the poorest major city and poorest state in the nation. The notion that they might not have the ability or capacity to properly handle a major disaster is Not News™. It’s sort of like a “dog bites man” story… if the press covers it, it’ll be in a few lines buried in the back of section B (the section where the one-paragraph police reports summaries live). It’s just not unusual enough to be news.

The notion that the government of the United States of America, the world’s richest and most powerful nation, may not have the ability or capacity to handle a major disaster IS News™. This is like a “man bites dog” story—something unexpected, and thus newsworthy. Thus this is where the press is naturally going to focus the majority of their attention—whether said national government is run by Republicans or Democrats.

In short, it’s not the press that’s biased, it’s the facts. Pesky facts, don’t they know that they’re supposed to properly salute Dear Leader and only be what he wants them to be?!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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