Brokaw and Social Security


Dean Baker at Beat the Press notes Brokaw’s definitive pronouncement about Social Security:

If Social Security Was a Private Corporation Then it Would Sue Tom Brokaw for Every Penny He Has

If a news reporter deliberately makes a false statement claiming that a private company like Boeing or Microsoft is going broke, the company has the right to sue the reporter and the news agency. That is why reporters rarely make statements like Microsoft or Boeing (or Lehman Brothers, AIG, or Goldman Sachs) are going broke.

However, reporters can freely impugn the financial health of a government program like Social Security because a government program cannot sue for libel. That is why Brokaw knew that he could imply that Social Security is going broke, even though it is not true. Social Security cannot sue Brokaw even if he deliberately tells explicit lies about its financial health.

Those who are interesting in learning about the true state of Social Security’s financial health can find out by looking at the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s website.

Angry Bear Bruce Webb and reader coberly have a lot to say on the matter, from whom we will likely hear.