Getting one’s head around the flurry of headlines on this issue is a good trick.
First, I spotted an article earlier in the day at CNN about Rep. Peter King (R-NY) blasting Boehner and the House for failing to act on the $60 billion bill for Hurricane Sandy aid. CNN subsequently updated that article, but by update I mean they replaced the old article in its entirety with new content. The original points are present, tamed and muted.
Later in the day I spotted an article from the NY Daily news: Sources: hurricane aid tabled out of spite. According to that article, Boehner yanked the bill, for which House Majority Leader Eric Cantor negotiated, in retaliation for Cantor’s refusal to vote for the “fiscal cliff” bill. Good luck finding the text of that article. At least for that one I can find some evidence that I didn’t just make it up at PR Newswire.
CNN subsequently replaced their original article with this one about the reversal in the face of outrage. With a little digging, I was able to locate this footage at CNN.com. Just in case they bury that deeper, here’s YouTube to the rescue, with Rep. Peter King on the House floor, by way of his own YouTube channel.
What the House leadership did was “absolutely inexcusable, absolutely indefensible.”
NY Daily News, on the other hand, completely shifted from the spite article to an article about the reversal. Searches of news via Google as well as of my subscription list via Google Reader (fairly extensive, if I do say so myself) for “Sandy tabled spite” (without quotes for search) only yield reference to NY Daily News with that context, and NY Daily News no longer has that article available as originally presented. The new content brings up the allegation of spiteful motive for tabling the bill, but cites Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, as calling the allegation absurd. Two still unnamed sources, one Democrat, one Republican, maintain the allegation behind the veil of anonymity. Even so, the heart of the original story is now thoroughly buried, nearly relegated to footnote.
Now, I’m quite sure the vast majority of us are far more concerned with the positive development that is now taking the lead in the coverage. It is critically important that an aid package is passed for Sandy relief.
By the same token, I’m alarmed and dismayed at the manner in which both CNN and NY Daily News have buried their original coverage, as though, somehow, the sequence of events, as originally covered, are somehow no longer newsworthy. The tabling of the bill for whatever the reason, the allegations of spite, the outcry from Rep. Peter King, and Boehner’s reversal, however partial, as a sequence of events, are illustrative of our current political crisis. To bury any aspect of that sequence is, in my opinion, a dereliction of journalistic duty.
There I go again, assuming that our media feel some duty to anything other than shareholder value. Silly me.