Accuracy in Media

Salon agrees with a report from Congressional Democrats, no harm in that. But to agree with such a report is not the same as that report “debunks” criticism of it. To debunk is to disprove, to show to be wrong. And, despite the best attempts of Salon, for politicians to support their own policy is not to disprove, or show to be wrong, criticisms of that policy.

But this is what they claim: “Report debunks Joe Manchin’s inflation argument against Build Back Better.”

Manchin, a Democratic senator from West Virginia, has been saying that he thinks that Build Back Better will, by increasing government spending and possibly the deficit thereby increase inflation – which has just been recorded at 7% so that is a concern. Salon refers to a report that says this is not so. There’s a slight mistake at Salon on even this: “But a new report published Wednesday by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee argues that Democrats’ 10-year, $1.75 trillion reconciliation package would actually relieve inflationary pressures on the economy.” But it’s actually from the Democrats on the JEC. So it’s not exactly, and precisely, an independent evaluation of the BBB plans. It’s the people who support the policy saying they support the policy.

It is possible to argue this either way, but the merit of Build Back Better (or even the balanced budget multiplier effect upon inflation) isn’t our point. Manchin might be right — all the Ds on the JEC might be, for the purposes of our argument.

This report does not “debunk” Manchin because it does not disprove his argument at all, it simply restates the well-known political position of other Senate Democrats. It is clear and obvious that Salon agrees with the non-Manchin Ds here as well but that’s still not a disproof.

Agreement and disagreement just are not debunking.

Salon is a major progressive media source. It gains near 9 million visits a month with near 80% of that from the U.S. alone, making it influential in the political scene well beyond that audience.

An assertion from a group of politicians that their plans are just excellent really is not a debunking of a criticism of their plan. It’s politics, which is fine in its place. But journalism is meant to be a speaking of truth to such power, right, not merely an agreement with it?

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