Accuracy in Media

Despite the above the fold status of the Post’s article on the selling of the gold at Fort Knox, there are clear points of pivoting from what should be an objective piece. Like any good argument, two clear sides are presented, yet the introductory quotes used to frame the argument are not equally evoked.

It first presents Ron Utt of the Heritage Foundation, who in reference to the gold states, “It’s just sort of sitting there… by all means, sell at the peak.” This relaxed language used to set up the argument, contrasts with the counter points from the Obama Administration. The Post chose quotes with strong language to satisfy the point. “Selling off the gold is just one level of crazy away from selling Mount Rushmore.” Instead of using counterpoints filled with economic statistics or even addressing the larger issue of selling off Federal assets, it fights this battle with inflammatory rhetoric, for instance, using the word “cockamamie” to encapsulate the perspective of assistant Treasury secretary Mary J. Miller. This word paints a picture of exaggerated inanity meant for the circus.

Secondly, since the debate centers on the conservative versus the current Administration perspective, the Post uses biased language, once again.  For instance, when detailing a stance in favor of selling the gold, the Post writes about, “the libertarian Cato Institute,” as opposed to when it cites a perspective from the other side. It writes, “One prominent economist . . . said that selling assets doesn’t really help the government’s balance sheet. . .”

Finally, the article shifts its trajectory from the U.S. selling some of its assets to help pay off its debt, to the issue of the U.S. reaching its debt ceiling mean it is poor, “the U.S. may have run up a huge debt, but it is not a poor country by any stretch of the imagination.” It then deducts from this notion to conclude with a quote lined with Marxist rhetoric:

“The ultimate government asset is the ability to tax a large, wealthy population. . . The biggest asset we have by far is our human capital—our abilities”. Human capital is a term developed by Marx yet used by an economist cited as “prominent.”

Refusing to acknowledge potential market solutions, such as Goldline for government, in support of purely ideological assumptions is simply short-sighted. The Washington Post should do more to investigate all potential means in addressing this issue.





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