Wednesday, September 16, 2009

About That NYT Story

As I just posted, I think there is significant news in this Carl Hulse NYT story. The story itself, however, is just a mess.

First of all, the actual news (the Democrats are actively seeking Yes/No votes, and Bayh might sign on) is found in paragraphs 13-15 of a seventeen paragraph story. The first twelve paragraphs tell us Big News, including:
  • The Democrats will need 60 votes to beat a filibuster, so they'll all have to like the bill.
  • Moderate and liberal Democrats don't really agree on what they want in the bill.
  • Olympia Snowe is really, really important.
No, really. That's pretty much the story. But it gets worse. The entire story is based on the assumption that the Massachusetts seat will be vacant when the Senate votes: "With the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Democrats control 59 seats, meaning they need at least one Republican to join them..." Nowhere in the story is there even a hint that the Massachusetts legislature may very well pass a bill allowing for a new Senator to be appointed within the next two weeks, in plenty of time for the Senate floor debate.

Then there's the stuff that liberals would be upset with. Hulse quotes George Voinovich complaining about whether the bill is affordable. But of course the Baucus bill was scored as actually reducing the deficit, and the president has pledged that any bill he would sign must be (at least?) budget neutral. Wouldn't a follow-up question be appropriate?

Oh well. At least there's actual news hidden in the bottom of the story. Reporters: we need more about Yes/No!

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