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Making Hash of Reporting on the Making of Sausage

My friend and co-blogger (at Market Correction) Andy Morriss sent this letter yesterday to the Wall Street Journal:


The inaccuracies in your story on the stimulus plan (“Congress
Strikes $789 Billion Stimulus Deal,” Feb. 12) begin with the first
sentence, that claims the bill will “spark an infrastructure boom” and
include such howlers as terming this porkfest an “economic rescue package,”
claiming it “tilt[s] federal assistance toward the poor,” and “shower[s]”
tax relief on “individuals and businesses.” Have your reporters
been smoking with Michael Phelps? Even tonight, hours after your story was
printed, members of Congress don’t have copies of the bill. How did your
reporter obtain a copy, master the intricacies, and do the economic analysis to
discover that the net effect of what your own newspaper has reported is a bill
packed with special interest favors and idiotic projects like a Museum of
Organized Crime in Las Vegas is tilted toward the poor? Do they get a discount
admission at the museum? If I want sloppy work, I get that from the federal government.
I expect more careful reporting from the Journal. Next time, please do more
than reprint press releases from Nancy Pelosi’s office.

Andrew P. Morriss
H. Ross & Helen Workman Professor of Law and Business
Professor, Institute for Government and Public Affairs
University of Illinois