The Sun Gazette (no, I won’t link to it) is a local “newspaper” delivered free of charge to where I live in the Washington, D.C. area. I put quotes around the word “newspaper” because it’s really a brochure for the local real estate industry that masquerades as a news source. Not only are most of its ads from real estate agents, it even has ads for homes for sale that are written by the paper’s staff and are published so that they look look like news stories.
Most important, the front-page lead stories are almost always cheerleading for local home sales, with headlines that, no matter what the statistics cited in the story say, somehow always give the impression that things are getting better and that this is a good time to buy buy buy.
The Sun Gazette usually just goes directly in the trash with all of the other garbage, but this week’s edition deserves to be mentioned…or, actually, ridiculed. Yes, it had the usual cheerleading front-page story about home sales being up, but the headline mentioned the federal home-buyer tax credit as the reason for the jump in sales. The fifth graph in the story (Note to the Gazette’s editor: If it’s in the headline it should also be in the lead) began by saying “Sales likely were strengthened…” by the tax credit. A follow-up story on page 5 had a headline that said home sales had been “buoyed” by the federal tax credit.
I mention all of this because in addition to being a cheerleader for the local housing industry, the Sun Gazette routinely rails against government involvement of any kind in anything, but especially in economic matters. It always finds a reason to complain about government deficits and debt and challenges local federal office holders who support policies that increase them. In this same edition, for example, the Sun Gazette includes an editorial that celebrates the election of what it calls a fiscally conservative local city council.
There’s no indication whatsoever that the newspaper even realizes how inconsistent it’s being. On the one hand its very close ties to the local real estate industry require that it celebrate a federal policy that increases the budget deficit. On the other hand, its standard editorial position is that the government should stay away and allow the economy to operate on its own. In this case it can’t do both but, in this case, when it was in the Sun Gazette’s direct personal interest, increasing the deficit was okay.
Excuse me while I head to the trash.