Monday, August 02, 2004

Krugman to CBS

At Romenesko:

From PAUL KRUGMAN: In response to Jim Murphy's comment regarding my July 30 column on the absence of issue coverage in this election, and the "miffed" staff at CBS Evening News: as Greg Mitchell has already pointed out [below Murphy's letter], Mr. Murphy apparently misread what I said. I did not say that there has been no issue reporting at all over the past two months; I said that issue coverage is very thin, and that there has in particular been no clear explanation of even the most basic elements of the Kerry health care plan.

That statement is, alas, true. The CBS evening news report from June 29 was the best coverage of the competing health care plans I could find. But did it explain that the Kerry plan would cover most of those now uninsured? No. Did it explain that the plan would, according to the Kerry campaign, be financed by a tax-cut rollback? No. In fact, by giving time to Bush claims that "the Kerry plan would break the bank", without mentioning Kerry's plan to pay for it with a tax-cut rollback, the CBS report conveyed the false impression that the plan is unfunded pie in the sky.

Bear in mind that this is not one among many issues: health care-cum-tax cut rollback is Kerry's signature domestic policy proposal. Yet a voter who gets his or her news from TV, even CBS with its "issues" series, would have little or no idea of what Kerry is offering, or how it differs from Bush.