Friday, September 24, 2004

Real issues? Whose issues?

Ace of Spades has racked up a must-read post for anyone who finds themself asking "What're they on about?" whenever they hear people gripe about "the liberal media". It takes a run up and down identification bias, and dead nails the selection bias I've been whining about forever, but stops short of criticising the herd-like behavior that allows it to take place.

No, the worst form of media bias is simple bias in story selection. The media gets to decide which stories get front-page play for weeks at a time (Abu Ghraib) and which get virtually no mention whatsoever (Sarin shells discovered in Iraq).

I have less and less interest in what the media thinks the "real issues" in this campaign are, because, coincidentally enough I'm sure, the "real issue" always turns out to be the issue that can most damage Bush and most help John Kerry.

When we captured Saddam Hussein in December, and it seemed as if Iraq would become a less dangerous place, the media was quite insistent that the economy -- the slow job growth -- was the "real issue."

Trouble is, from January through May we had explosive job growth, and yet the media -- previously deeming this the "real issue," remember -- suddenly wasn't so terribly interested at all in job growth. The better the economy got, the less of a "real issue" it suddenly seemed.

Of course, the economy went through a soft patch, and became a "real issue" again; but now job growth seems back on track, and the economy seems to have regained its "traction" (according to Fed Chair Greenspan), and guess what? It's not a "real issue" anymore.

"Real issues" indeed.


Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Not to be outdone, could be worse.

2:23 PM  

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