Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How to Read the Newspaper, First In a Series

Political reporting is often difficult for average voters to understand. This isn't because the average voter is dumb. They're not SUPPOSED to understand it. Political news in our nation's elite journals are messages sent by insiders to other insiders with the reporter serving as glorified letter carrier rather than serving any public interest.

Learn the codes, however, and political news becomes both easy and fun to read. Take the front-page story in today's New York Times headed "On Iraq, Kerry again leaves Democrats fuming."

The article itself is a little fuzzy. A variety of unnamed sources who we're supposed to infer are damned important are mad at Kerry because he insists on making senators vote on his resolution to set a date for getting US troops the hell out of Iraq.

A controversial position that. Also an election late and a dollar short, but no matter. The Times own polling most recently showed that almost 80 percent of self-identified Democrats AGREE with Sen. Kerry's position on this issue. Who are all those Democrats fuming at him.

Here's where newspaper codebreaking comes in handy. Take the article in question and starting at the headline, replace the words "Democrat" or "Democratic party" with the words "Hillary Clinton."

Now re-read the piece. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?


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