by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
Years ago I noticed something:
There’s a disconnect between the money sections and editorial sections of most media outlets. The money sections like to print helpful articles on helping people stretch their scarce dollars and warning against the pain of higher prices on necessities. The editorial sections favor policies that confiscate those dollars and create that pain.
Think about it. On the editorial side, media dislike tax cuts. They dislike government budget cuts. They favor more expensive energy sources. They favor more expensive health insurance. They favor government bond issues and higher property taxes.
So on the editorial side, media have a revealed preference for raising costs on families either through direct government actions or indirectly through government choices.
Media also have money sections or consumer-help bureaus to pinpoint ways for families to save money. They report on special deals. publish coupons, warn against scams, highlight dependable low-cost service providers and retailers, and generally provide good services to the public.
Sometimes this dichotomy can be jarring. Do they think people are different in their role as taxpayers from their role as consumers or ratepayers? Or do they think government shouldn’t dare be asked to economize when consumers are?
What prompted this musing was a tweet today from WTVD:
Higher gas prices aren’t just bad news for consumers, they’re all-caps BAD NEWS. But I remember how, for media editorialists, low gas prices are “bad news” — for their political goals. Roy Cordato wrote about that not long ago.
And I’m reminded again that they consider fracking “bad news.” But thanks to fracking, we’ve got things we have wanted for years: lower gas prices, more energy-independence, and lower emissions. Which may be why they don’t report about it.