By Scott Tibbs, October 29, 2013
The most annoying and frustrating part of the government shutdown earlier this month was the mainstream news media's childish and simple-minded coverage of the debate between the two parties. There was some more adult-oriented coverage by pundits and columnists, but overall it was a shocking failure by the media to do its job.
The gridlock in Washington that led to the shutdown is about much more than the two political parties refusing to "work together" or being unable to "do their jobs." There are real and deep philosophical differences between the parties that cannot be glossed over by simply saying the parties should "work together." The news media cast the whole debate though the lens of relationships and did not delve deeply into the issue and explain what the parties' positions were.
A significant opportunity to educate the public was lost.
Let's boil it down to the basics. If a Political Party 1 believes Policy A to be destructive to the country, you can and should expect them to work against it. That can be done by not providing funding for the implementation of the law or by outright repealing it. When the latter option is not viable, the former option is one way to pursue the goal of eliminating the destructive policy.
Meanwhile, Political Party 2 passed Policy A believes it to be necessary to solve or mitigate a problem we face to simply give up and allow it to be repealed or de-funded, so they will fight to make sure it is fully implemented. We cannot expect Party 1 or Party 2 to abandon what they believe is best for the county simply in the interest of "working together."
The news media reports that trust and confidence in Washington to be at an all-time low, but to a large extent they are directly responsible for the public's dislike of Washington by refusing to do their jobs and report on the complex issues the two parties are debating, the solutions each party has to solving the problem, and explanations as to why each party is using particular tactics in the legislative impasse. Those who rely on the mainstream media, then, are left ignorant by this populist garbage and throw their hands up in disgust.