Rapid Progress Towards Real Reporting at the New York Times

At 12:07 Eastern standard time 9/10/2015 Alan Rappaport wrote an article on Jeb Bush’s tax proposal whose headline seemed to me to be the title of a Bush campaign press release — it stressed the proposal to close the carried interest loophole and not the huge cuts to top tax rates. About 4 hours later Rappaport and Matt Flegenheimer wrote a Ballanced article whith a headline which noted both.


Then after 2 more hours Josh Barro wrote a serious analysis of the proposal noting that it, like all Republican tax proposals, would amount a to huge gigantic tax cut for the rich (and small piddling tax cuts for the non rich).


I think this shows the huge gap between beat reporters who aim to please sources and blogging related journalistic activities which are based on looking up the facts and analysing them. The problem is that the Barro article in the upshot will get much less attention than the Rappaport and Flegenheimer article on the web front page.

To me the key question is whether the new blogger influenced fact based journalism of the Upshot, Vox, Wonkblog, TPM etc will prevent Republicans from tricking voters about their plans to serve the rich as George Bush did in 2000.

Do opinions on shape of planet still differ ?

This has become very strange. The front page includes a link to Barro’s article but the headline on the Rappaport and Flegenheimer article has regressed describing huge tax cuts for the rich as “populism”. The NYTimes headline writer is debating with himself or herself. I guess the insane new main headline was needed to Ballance Barro.


I wonder if part of the issue is innumeracy. Vastly more dollars are involved in the rate cuts than the carried interest loophole but rate cuts consist of replacing a number with another number while “the carried interest loophole” is a phrase. I don’t see how anyone with any sense for numbers can present both in parallel in the same abstract as if they were remotely similar in scale.

update:Well the blogosphere sure is on it. The NY Times and especially the un-named Times person who wrote “populism” in the headline is being denounced vigorously
ed Kilgore links to

Jonathan Chait who covers the coverage much better than I do. Chait has an anti-blogger past (really he wasn’t always a blogger) so he contrasts narrative based journalism and data driven journalism. He admits he doesn’t know how it will turn out (data journalism is still relatively obscure — will the front page journalists be willing to learn from the nerds on the back pages ?). But the point is just read Chait — he’s done more research than I have (a low bar to clear) and writes better (a lower bar).