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Shutout from the Government Shutdown

Media Coverage Once Again Fails to Examine One Important Aspect

In case you hadn’t noticed – and not everyone has – we’re experiencing another government shutdown. (Yawn! Make that a partial yawn, since it’s only a partial shutdown.) And once again, the media has reacted in predictable, if not deplorable ways.

Predictably, there has been an avalanche of stories about what is shutdown (and what isn’t – Congress’ health club? Really? Like they couldn’t live without that!) Be that as it may, the story lines are all too familiar.

We did a very cursory and, we admit, very unscientific survey of some of what the media is calling news about this shutdown. Of course, President Trump is generally regarded as the villain and he is the main topic of discussion in roughly half to two-thirds of the stories. That’s no big surprise.

But our ever-diligent media has uncovered several other story lines which concern themselves mostly with how federal employees are coping, and the various “heartbreaking” shutdown stories that are accumulating. (There is even a Twitter hashtag #ShutdownStories, if you’re interested.) We were somewhat surprised to see that there was a piece about how the shutdown will affect small businesses. But, all in all, that’s about it.

Conspicuous by its absence is an aspect of government shutdowns that is habitually overlooked by the mainstream media. You know, there is another side to a government shutdown, just like there is another side to a financial balance sheet. It’s this “other” side that the fourth estate once again has completely ignored. We doubt if it’s even crossed whatever passes for their collective minds.

Think about it. For an institution that is more than $20 trillion in debt, one would think that someone would ask the elementary question, “How much money are the taxpayers saving everyday by having the government (partially) shutdown?” You don’t have to be an accountant or an economist to have that thought cross your mind.

Of course, reporters and editors are neither accountants nor economists but it does seem an obvious question to even a casual observer. And don’t journalists earn their livings by asking questions?

Then again, if the taxpayers knew how much money they were saving everyday, the calls for an end to the “crisis” might dissipate, leaving the government and media really scratching their heads while the taxpayers were able to bank a few bucks.

But when was the last time saving the taxpayers a few dollars ever been at forefront of a journalist’s mind?

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