Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Non-Opposition Opposition

By employing a mutation of the non-denial denial, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) wins some media cred for opposing Bush's Social Security privatization scheme.

On its website, Shreveport, LA television KTBS headlines the story like so:

"Landrieu opposes president's plan on Social Security"

Read the piece, however, and Landrieu's "opposition" doesn't look quite so rock-solid.

During a stop in Bossier, Landrieu said the president will have a tough time convincing people that privatizing part of Social Security will improve its situation, where a deficit is looming as Baby Boomers begin to retire and their are fewer workers paying into the national retirement system. The president wants to let younger workers put part of their payroll taxes into private accounts.

"He has planned to take $2 trillion out of Social Security at a time when we actually need to be putting money into it," Landrieu said. "It's going to be a hard sale. So I'm very skeptical, like many people."
One cannot help but notice that nowhere in this story does Landrieu actually articulate an opinion about the relative merits of private accounts. All she really does is handicap the proposal's odds of winning enough public support to have a fighting chance in congress.

Meanwhile, on Landrieu's official website, one must go all the way back to 2001 to find a statement of support for Social Security

The TV station read much more into Landrieu's comments than was really there.

Of course, the senator is not alone in hedging on private accounts. It's just that on this issue, most of the hemming and hawing is being done by Republicans.


kelly said...

That sounds about par for the course for mainstream media. Good catch.