In George Orwell’s 1984, set in a pre-computer era, Winston Smith, working in the misnamed Ministry of Truth, alters documents that contradict or conflict with his totalitarian government’s take on history, wiping out inconvenient truths or revising them to fit the current template.
In 2010, the establishment press ramped up its propaganda role, acting as a collective of preemptive Winston Smiths. They ignored or massaged important news stories in ways that prevented the vast, relatively disengaged majority of the population (probably 85%, but perhaps as low as 80% thanks to the Tea Party movement) from getting their arms around the truth without doing a great deal of independent research.
Reviewing my blog’s 2010 posts, I thought I might have a hard time coming up with ten obvious Smith-like examples. I found about 50. If I’m lucky, I may have addressed 10% of the really offensive instances that occurred throughout the year. What follows are ten of the worst, with occasional multiple offenses packed into one item. Except for the final two, the worst by far that I found, they are in no particular order.
1. Refusing to describe the U.S. homebuilding industry and new home market as the worst since World War II. The current meme is that it’s the “worst in 47 years of record-keeping,” except that in most instances the “record-keeping” phrase is omitted, giving readers the clear impression that at least 2010 wasn’t as bad as 1963.
Reporting the truth would make it painfully obvious that the Obama administration’s HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) and other initiatives have not only failed to revive the market, but have harmed it. The press won’t tolerate that.
2. “Channel-stuffing” at Government/General Motors. From July through November, the company shipped 112,000 more cars to its dealers than its dealers sold, increasing dealer inventories to an unreasonable 90 days’ sales. In doing so, GM, which according to accounting rules recognizes a sale when a vehicle leaves the factory, created over $1 billion in shipped-ahead profit.
This is a very effective technique for dressing up the books ahead of an initial public offering and making things look good for a while thereafter. But it’s not sustainable without a huge upward spike in sales, which isn’t happening. None of this is news in the establishment press.
3. ObamaCare’s work and marriage disincentives. Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation has shown that if ObamaCare ever takes full effect, those who wish to advance themselves could face marginal health care subsidy-loss rates of more than 100% (I’m not kidding). A person’s “reward” for earning more income would be having to pay more for the same health care coverage than the additional wages they have earned.
Additionally, couples who marry or wish to stay married would lose thousands of dollars a year by doing so. If not stopped, the subsidy structure will virtually kill any incentives for financial self-improvement, and will be a recipe for breaking up untold numbers of families. Of course, the establishment press has raised no concerns over this.
4. Global warmists’ admissions. First, there was Professor Phil Jones’s February concession that there has been no global warming since 1995. Then there was IPCC economist Ottmar Edenhofer’s frank November assertion that climate policy “is redistributing the world’s wealth.” Apparently only English newspapers and editorial writers at Investor’s Business Daily care about these things. Meanwhile, journalists moaned about how people were no longer buying into the supposedly “settled science.”