Saturday, October 15, 2005
How a little editing can change things: Today's San Diego Union-Tribune has a story on the San Diego mayor's race. When I first read it, I was a little shocked by the following paragraph:
Later, [mayoral candidate Jerry] Sanders was joined at a news conference by Arthur Laffer, a former economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan who is known as the "father of supply-side economics." The Reagan economic policies he helped inspire were derided as "voodoo economics" by then-candidate George H.W. Bush during the 1980 presidential primaries.
The second sentence struck me as a gratuitous slam at Laffer. Why the heck was that necessary?
Well, if you can stand reading farther, you find out why that second sentence is necessary.
Sanders was jovially red-faced when asked about his Oct. 7 remark that Frye's fiscal plan "brings 'voodoo economics' to a new level."
Standing next to Laffer, Sanders was asked if he wished to recast the remark. "Yeah . . . you know, I think what Donna Frye was saying made absolutely no sense. Perhaps that was a poor choice of words," he said.
Laffer chuckled and said: "I think what he was talking about was 'deja voodoo.' "
This explains why the second sentence in the first instance was necessary. Without that information, all of the voodoo talk is nonsensical.
However, leaving that sentence where it was, creates the appearance of bias against Laffer and supply-side economics. If you tacked that explanatory sentence on the end of the first paragraph of the second excerpt, it can't be mistaken as a gratuitous slam.
Some of what appears to be bias at first glance can be blamed on faulty editing -- but only some.