Thursday, March 01, 2007

Yikes: Where to Even Begin?

There have been a lot of bad articles in the Boston Globe lately, but this one takes the cake.

The $950 million in "savings and efficiencies" that Governor Deval Patrick touted in his budget address this week is actually a compilation of corporate tax increases, hoped-for improvements in tax collection and fraud detection, lower spending increases than originally anticipated to keep up with inflation, and smaller surgical budget cuts in dozens of state programs and subsidies.
I'm not even going to tear that one-sided, peice-of-crap, leading paragraph apart... it would be too easy.

So let's start here:

To balance his budget, the new governor also tapped $225 million in one-time revenue by eliminating the state's annual $100 million payment to its rainy-day fund, drawing $75 million in interest from that fund, and taking $50 million from the state's tobacco fund.
Um... aren't 'down years' the reason why we have a rainy day fund? Deval Patrick found a way to balance the budget without taking money out of the Rainy Day Fund, yet gets critized for merely not contributing more - when there's a $1 billion deficit? The Globe goes on to quote the right-of-center Massachusetts Tax Foundation, but ignores the left-of-center Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

The Globe needs to learn to tone down the language in their so-called jouralistic articles, sticking to the facts instead of leading words meant to stir reactions. Then they need to broaden the people they talk to when writing these articles because, while the MTF is a great resource, there are other experts in the field too.


Shiltone said...

Glad I'm not the only one who thought the Glob scraped bottom with today's article. See my comment on BMG about that.

Good point re the rainy-day fund. If they weren't complaining about not contributing to it, they would be trying to raid it for a tax giveaway, like they have been for the last couple of decades!

high horse said...

Ryan, you commended the Globe the other day for citing the Mass Budget and Policy Center. Today the Globe cites the Mass Taypayers Foundation and you are up in arms. The only time the Globe is any good is when it echoes your point of view. When there are critisms for the governor, though, you must immediately declare the "old media" dead.

You cannot expect the Globe to constantly be a Deval cheerleader. You are the only person capable of blindly adoring every soundbite the guy rambles to promote his gimmick-filled budget. "Massachusetts is at a crossroads, so we better get on with it." What? Is that not the worst example of a soundbite? There is no substance to that quote, but rather it elicits emotion. All style - no substance. The campaign is over. It is time to govern. You better get on with it.

BTW, withdrawing interest from the rainy day fund and eliminating this year's payment places the commonwealth's future at risk, particularly when he is giving a tax hike to the business community. We may need those resources after the business community continues to flee the state in droves. I know you don't think closing the loopholes is big deal because a left-of-center policy group says its fine. In reality, this tax hike should give you pause if MTF, the entire business community, and a very vocal portion of the lege has warned against the ramifications of such a decision.

Finally, you champion higher ed as one of your cause celebs. Have you seen Deval's recommendations for Higher Education in his initial budget? I shutter to think the future of UMASS under this administration. Our state universities and colleges have made great strides over the last dozen or so years. What a pity.

Ryan Adams said...

I commended the Globe's editorial staff, which is very different than the news staff. The reason why the information from the other source was important - and should have been mentioned - is the fact that they had something very different to say than the MTF. You don't pick and choose what goes in an article, when the information is exceptionally relevant.

Deval bumped UMASS's budget it, not enough to probably account for all of inflation, but it was a tough budget year. He did the best he could, given the circumstances. Furthermore, for you to criticize him on the rainy day fund is rediculous. He didn't take any money out of it, just used interest and didn't put a payment. If you aren't going to use a rainy day fund on an OFF YEAR, why the hell have it to begin with? That's what it's there for.

I don't expect the Globe to be chearleading Deval Patrick. I expect them to be reporting the news, at least when it comes to their news staff. That was a clearly biased front-paged story by writers who are notorious for sloppy journalism.

high horse said...

Ryan, you do expect the Globe to cheerlead for Patrick. The Globe will write a story that the quotes either the Governor or someone from his staff. That same article will also have someone refute the governor's position. You become IRATE and decry the article as "sloppy journalism." Your reasoning to fly off the handle is that the article didn't get more quotes from moonbats to support the Governor's empty rhetoric. Why does the Globe always, always, always need additional quotes from additional sources when they have gone directly to the horse's mouth? You can get me a hundred people to tell me that the gov poops ice cream. I am still going to insist that it is poop. The Globe has been completely responsible in presenting both sides of the argument (the gov's and the opposition). Deval is a big boy he can fight his own fights and the Globe doesn't have to let everyone come to his defense. This budget is his bed. Now he has to lie down.

Finally, nice try discrediting the rainy day fund argument. I told you that to forgo the payment and withdraw the interest puts the financial welfare of the commonwealth at stake. "If you aren't going to use a rainy day fund on an OFF YEAR, why the hell have it to begin with? That's what it's there for."
The purpose of the rainy day fund is not to make up for "off years." It is a security blanket to be used for EMERGENCY situations only. The rainy day fund is not a resource for the Gov to try and deliver on campaign promises he knew he couldn't keep. Typical tax and spend.

Ryan Adams said...

So, a billion dollar deficit isn't an emergency use?

And you'll notice, if you bother to read them, that in many of the recent articles no one in Governor Patrick's administration is quoted, while people who are criticizing him are quoted, often in a positive light.

Check out the Killer Coke articles for some especially blatant prejudices. Even Joan Vennochi, a Globe columnist, criticized the Globe for those stories. Because the Globe didn't do any digging on a particular critic of the candidate Patrick - they failed to realize that a) his organization was a one-man front, b) his organization was in contact with the Reilly campaign. That breaks just about every rule of journalism ethics that I could think of.

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