How awful -- awful -- is the mainstream media?
Today in my local paper, two AP articles, side-by-side, reminded me of last January, when David Brooks predicted that the stimulus would result in state Governors who have a couple hundred million deficit trying to figure out what on Earth to do with billions in stimulus money -- while the article on the front page of his own newspaper on the same day described states' furloughing workers, hundreds of billions in state budget shortfalls, New York City increasing Met fares on disabled people, Florida increasing taxes on retirement homes, and large tax increases and budget cuts all around -- and by Governors who knew stimulus money was in the pipeline.
The first article is clearly critical of the new Jobs bill Congress is considering, pointing out that "only 9 percent of $27.5 billion for highways had been spent" and that it would be hard to find ways to stimulate the economy quickly. The second article is about the massive state budget shortfalls which are going to hit in 2010, and the coming tax hikes/spending cuts coming down the pike later this year.
Of course, there is no way both of these "stories" can be true simultaneously. Either it is difficult for the government to find things to spend money on quickly (and state budgets are fine) or state budgets are not fine (in which case it would be a simple matter to stimulate -- give states money so that they do not cut spending or raise taxes).
It's always interested me the way disparate story lines in the press -- which are mutually contradictory -- can coexist without anyone realizing it.