Tuesday, July 19, 2011

if the trick is the story, you're not going to fool the people who are paying attention

negotiations are part of my job. so i understand how crafting a deal that creates the impression that it does something that it really doesn't do and really is much more about saving face for everyone involved is sometimes an important way to resolve a problem and sell it to each respective side. but that tactic doesn't work if the fact that it is a trick gets out.

so how could this possibly resolve the current debt ceiling standoff? it's not going to fool anyone when it's referred to as a "trick" in an above-the-fold headline on the cover of the new york times. the article doesn't just use the word "trick" a couple of times, it also includes the phrase: "a slick effort to dodge accountability." it's only slick if the newspapers are telling people about it, is it?  the article doesn't even talk about what the scheme is until it's more than halfway through (and the bit that is continued onto page A3 in the print edition). those details aren't central to the article. the trick is the story. it's the focus of the coverage. so how can this possibly work?