Friday, November 18, 2005

What's wrong with this headline:
Alaska 'bridge to nowhere' funding gets nowhere
Lawmakers delete project after critics bestow derisive moniker

from yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle,
or this headline and opening sentence:
Two 'Bridges to Nowhere' Tumble Down in Congress
Republicans decided Wednesday to take a legislative wrecking ball to two Alaskan bridge projects that had demolished the party's reputation for fiscal austerity.
from yesterday's New York Times?

Sure seems like The Chronicle was right that " Fiscal conservatives in Congress won a rare victory Wednesday
until you get down to paragraph five:
Under a compromise transportation spending bill, Alaska would still get the federal dollars -- but the money would not be specifically designated for the two bridges. As a result, Alaskan lawmakers and other officials would decide where to spend the money .
Since a quick Google search showed that The Chronicle and The Times weren't alone repeating the RNC line, I decided to wait a day to see what the reaction would be.

Once again, the Times' Editors seemed to notice something that its reporters didn't:It won't actually save money because the funds will be shifted to Alaska's general transportation kitty for who-knows-what disposal.(Full editorial here)and a quick Google search showed that most newspapers starting to get the story right. There were a few headlines like this:Bridges get the budget ax, from Tennessee, but this from Florida, seemed to be more the norm.

I suppose it would be pretty typical: RNC puts out a certain spin on a story, media buys the spin, a day or two later media realizes its error and weakly corrects spins. Of course, the original spin usually reaches a bigger audience than the correction; almost certainly more people think Alaska gave up the bridges, than know that Alaska got the money. What's weird in this case is I haven't noticed it getting much attention on liberal sites. They must know how the Republicans are attempting to play it.

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