Tuesday, May 22, 2007

compare and contrast

Or a tale of two bad articles

Here's Thomas Burr's article about the Utah's lone Democrat in Congress, Jim Matheson, on May 19:
Rep. Jim Matheson, a Utah Democrat and self-described fiscal conservative, spent the largest percentage of his office allowance compared with his congressional colleagues in 2005, a new report shows.
Matheson used 99.97 percent of his congressional office budget that year, leaving only $375 unspent, according to the National Taxpayers Union, which compiled office budget data from published House reports.

Now for today's article by the same reporter, this time on brother of the rival daily newspaper, Rep. Chris Cannon:
Rep. Chris Cannon voted against reauthorizing a federal program to put more cops on the street, saying it's a local responsibility.
Cannon pointed to a recent report in USA Today of an internal audit showing that 3 percent of the COPS grants reviewed found some $277 million was misspent. Additionally, the report says, tens of thousands of jobs funded by the grants were never filled or weren't filled for long.

Now Burr allowed Matheson to explain why he used all but $375 of his budget--his Alabama-size district--but the lede of the article was I repeat "Matheson, a Utah Democrat and self-described fiscal conservative." The Cannon article does not say he is a Republican or call him a "self-described as pro-police."

The article lets others, namely a New York City Democrat (and it does point him out that way), to claim that COPS is a very successful program, but it burries the fact that local municipalities support it and would have more officers if the funding was most assured. And the article fails to mention studies that prove that Bush's defunding of COPS (because it is a Clinton program) has resulted in higher crime rates across the country, TIME magazine did a story on this, using Milwaukee, WI as the example.

JM Bell points out that Cannon's vote happened on May 14th, yet Burr didn't cover Cannon's slap in the face to Utahns until today. "Tommy Burr is one of the best reporters in the country so, what the hell happened? I have a hard time believing that Burr just waited to write it." I think he didn't want to write it until he found his Matheson story to "balance" it with.

Truth over Balance. Progress over ideology.

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