Ed Driscoll

One Story, Two Front Pages, Two Worldviews

At Ricochet, Peter Robinson compares and contrasts how two rather prominent New York newspapers covered the same story:

The lede graf from the Wall Street Journal’s front-page story today on the financial overhaul legislation:

Congress approved a rewrite of rules touching every corner of finance, from ATM cards to Wall Street traders, in the biggest expansion of government power over banking and markets since the Depression.

Now from the New York Times:

The sweeping expansion of federal financial regulation approved by Congress on Thursday and now headed to President Obama’s desk reflects a renewed mistrust of financial markets after decades in which Washington stood back from Wall Street with wide-eyed admiration.

The Journal reports on the shift in something concrete and real–power. What has just taken place, the Journal lets you know, is an enlargement of the scope of economic activities that will fall under the coercive capabilities of the state–and it won’t just be Wall Street fat cats who feel the effects, but everyone who so much as uses an ATM machine. The Times reports, by contrast, on something subjective, something that exists mostly in the heads of the reporters and their editors–ideology. The Times graf presents an appealing sense of movement and energy–“sweeping,” “now headed”–and then concludes with a literary device, personification–Washington, standing back, “with wide-eyed admiration”–that, while vivid enough, tells you a lot more about the Times’s politics than about recent political or economic history.

Whichever paper’s coverage you prefer, the story is also a reminder of who the rubes were in 2008.

(H/T: Andrew Klavan)