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The New York Times should be embarrassed.  On December 24 it gave a Christmas present to the corporate-backed lobby group Fix the Debt with its front-page Business section puff piece about the organization, which is pushing to balance the federal budget by slashing social programs while cutting taxes for the rich.  The 1149-word piece, by reporter Annie Lowrey, focused on the group's public face, Maya MacGuineas, without even mentioning that it was founded and is funded by Pete Peterson, the Wall Street financier who over many years has invested tens of millions of his money in his long-term crusade to reduce the federal debt on the backs of the poor and middle class.  Reporter Lowrey could easily have found dozens of articles on the web about Fix the Debt that reveal how it is simply the latest incarnation of Peterson’s crusade, including this article in New York magazine ( and this one on the Salon website ( Indeed, Times columnist Paul Krugman mentioned Peterson's close ties to the organization on his website two days earlier ( MacGuineas had already been the subject of profiles in both the Washington Post and New Republic a few days before, so was this the Times simply playing catch-up? Perhaps Lowrey's piece was the Times' way of providing "balance" for Krugman's criticism of Fix the Debt, but it was shoddy journalism nevertheless.  Here’s the Times’ article:

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Comment Preferences

  •  The NY Times continues to lose relevance (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbob, hannah, Bush Bites, gulfgal98, Dodgerdog1

    It will never bounce back from the whole Iraq War/Judith Miller fiasco which was the first time for a lot of us that the curtain was pulled to reveal it simply as a tool to promote the agenda of the connected.

    At one time in my life I subscribed to the NYT, and if I didn't subscribe, no Sunday was complete without it. It used to be my home page. I can literally go for weeks without even glancing at it now.

    Try to count up all the stuff that has gone on in the last 8 years, the last 4 years, that were worthy of big, blow the lid off, investigative pieces. Where were they?

    The Washington Post is equally guilty - the dogs that don't bark in the night. The dogs that greet the burglars with happy yelps and snuggle at their feet.

    The idea that the New York Times reporter didn't think it was worth mentioning the Peterson link to Fix the Debt is very telling.

    And they wonder why we're cynical. How many times can one discover that the various Save the Unicorn groups are fronts backed by the Unicorn Meat Processors Association?

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 01:02:15 AM PST

  •  isn't fix the debt (0+ / 0-)

    what starbucks' ceo was pushing yesterday or whenever?

    Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

    by Cedwyn on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:53:48 AM PST

  •  Every dollar in circulation represents an (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    obligation, a debt that somebody owes to someone somewhere. Since these obligations are constantly shifting and being traded around, it isn't possible to fix the debt.
    Debt is intrinsic to a give and take society. The opposite of debt is theft, a refusal to recognize an obligation and engage in predatory behavior instead. Predators take without giving anything back. Social organisms share and cooperate and some don't even require communicative skills to accomplish it. On the other hand, some humans obviously rely on their verbal skills to take what they need for themselves (via theft) by promising to give something back at a later time. And some humans, being alert to the fact that such promises may well be deceptive, have invented a system of certification, or aides memoire for the forgetful, which guarantees that somebody will pay something back later when provided with certified evidence of the existence of the debt.
    Dollars are our certificates of material obligation. In that they are not very different from certificates of marital obligation, only much more numerous. Which makes sense, since marital obligations are contracted between two people at a time, while our material obligations are multitudinous and far reaching.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:09:07 AM PST

  •  Why Weren't These Financial Geniuses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, grrr, hungeski

    complaining about "debt" when George Bush and the Republicans were busy charging 2 unpaid for wars on the national credit card, and lowering taxes on capital gains, dividends and estates, etc.??  Oh, I forgot - as long as piling up "debt" involves the wealthy enriching themselves even more, then debt is OK with them. Debt only becomes bad when it involves the wealthy actually having to pay their fair share for public services (like safety net programs) - and then "debt" must be "paid off" (by the middle class and poor of course). The idiots who write these pieces are hypocrites, and are either wealthy themselves, or owned and operated by the wealthy. Let's ignore them and continue pushing for tax hikes on the rich and corporations.

  •  Meh. (0+ / 0-)

    After you've helped lead the country into a phony war, leading the country into some phony corporate scam should be easy.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:27:05 AM PST

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