Credit where credit is due: Conservative activists, business groups and politicians such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have successfully sold the idea that public pensions are unsustainable.
In their mythology, greedy government workers are bankrupting states and pension-slashing politicians are saving the day. But there’s a big problem with this: It is inaccurate.
States do confront a $757 billion pension funding gap. But this gap was created mostly by losses associated with the 2008 Wall Street collapse, not by unsustainable benefits.
Dissecting media bias is now a lucrative cottage industry in American politics. From Media Matters to the Media Research Center, there are multimillion-dollar think tanks whose entire mission is to prove that the media serves one of the political parties, and unduly persecutes the other.
Let’s just state up front that it is certainly true that Democratic and Republican party biases exist in the corners of the mediascape that are explicitly partisan—places like talk radio and party-aligned cable television, to name a couple. It is also true that polls suggest this niche media’s effort to recast every political issue as a purely red-versus-blue affair has unfortunately helped convince more Americans to base their own positions purely on party affiliation rather than on principle. And it is true that because of its affinity for shock, spectacle and sensationalism, hyper-partisan media outlets get lots of residual media attention, which ends up depicting these outlets as far more significant cultural forces than they actually are.