Friday, November 23, 2007

Strib: Still covering for Republicans

Today's Strib has a long story by Kevin Diaz headlined "Bridge 'unity' fractured by politics." I've known Diaz for along time - we worked at the Minnesota Daily together in the early 80s. I've always thought he was a decent reporter, but lately I'm not so sure, and today's story goes a long way towards harming his reputation.

The essence of the real story here, NOT told by Diaz, is that George W. Bush, in a sad attempt to remain relevant amid the lowest approval numbers in history, has decided to veto spending bills for allegedly being reckless with money, which as Captain Willard says in Apocalypse Now, is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. ThinkProgress has a graph that shows that when the Republicans controlled congress Bush and Minnesota Congressmen John Kline and Michele Bachmann (the two Minnesotans in Congress to support Bush's veto of the bridge funding bill) had no problem with excessive spending. Now that the Dems are in control they all have a big problem with so-called excessive spending, even though earmarks are down by more than half since the Dems took congress, and they all have to be published.

But that's not the reason the bridge funding isn't passing according to the Trib and Diaz. No - the problem is politics, as if the very method of distributing power and resources is somehow to blame, but not the people and their absurd positions on issues. In effect, Diaz is absolving the Republicans Kline, Bachmann and Bush, and instead blaming our very method of self-government. This is now typical behavior at the paper, where anything that makes Republicans look bad is usually downplayed and watered down.

Diaz disingenuously uses University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs to distort the real cause of the funding impasse, implying that Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame:
"This is just a case study of what's wrong with government," said [Jacobs] . "Huge problem. Everybody recognizes the problem, and yet what you get is a mud fight. It's appalling."
The fact is the Republicans have tried to kill this bridge funding in a misguided attempt to help George W. Bush not look like a drunken sailor on leave. Too bad Kevin Diaz has joined their team.

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