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Why, You Have a Better Chance of Learning About the World by Asking that Squirrel Out There than by Reading the Washington Post

Yes, we have long ago moved beyond the "why oh why can't we have a better press corp?" question to begging Warren Buffett and company to simply close the Washington Post down--they get more money, we get less misinformation. It is win-win.

Today Robert Waldmann teaches the lesson:

Washington Post Headline Writer, Part VII: The headline and abstract person has outdone himself or herself, writing:

CBO sees debt estimates soar. Analysts say health law has not improved budget and Obama's tax agenda will make things worse. Lori Montgomery

As Kevin Drum says: always click the link. Lori Montgomery actually wrote:

President Obama's overhaul of the health-care system has done little to improve the nation's budget outlook, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday.

So "little" has become none.... [W]ell down in the story we get to what Doug Elmendorf said:

The health-care overhaul made "steps in the direction of a sustainable fiscal policy. But they are small steps relative to the journey that will be needed for fiscal sustainability," CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said Wednesday....

Small "relative to the journey that will be needed for fiscal sustainability" is not little.... [A better] way of putting that would be "unimagninably huge, immense, and gigantic, but nowhere near as colossal as the long term budget shortfall".

So in the hands of the Washington Post, small "relative to the journey that will be needed for fiscal sustainability" becomes "small" and then "none"... hundreds of billions of dollars are zero....

Montgomery's next sentence missallocates blame

They also said the president's tax agenda -- including a pledge to extend an array of tax cuts for the middle class -- would only make things worse.

This is only true if one interprets "the president" to be George W Bush.... Montgomery is blaming Obama for not undoing all of the damage that Bush did.... Obama is blamed for the long run budgetary shortfall, because the huge gigantic improvements that he has achieved plus the huge gigantic and popular improvements which he has proposed are not huge and gigantic enough to undo all the damage the Republicans did when they were in control.