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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Taxing my patience

I don't get it.

Voters in one town vote a $6.2 million tax increase and the Globe gives it a full story. The Massachusetts Senate follows the House's lead and passes a nearly $500 million plan raising cigarette taxes and closing corporate tax loopholes and it gets buried at the bottom of a briefs package.

One tax increase affecting one town is more significant?

Editors would probably argue that this is something voters did and it's final -- the House and Senate still have to work out their differences. We'll run it when it really over.

Maybe, but that works only if the Boston papers have been providing detailed coverage -- either in print or on the web -- about the nitty-gritty stuff on Beacon Hill. Have I missed that?

I've enjoyed the travails of Sal and Deval as much as the next guy (although I think the Truth Squad has better things to do than check on the veracity of a 12-year-old campaign contribution Deval may or may not have written to Barack Obama).

But the Paper of Record virtually ignored the House's approval of a $28 billion spending plan while focusing on Sal's questionable legislative decisions and the words of his supporters.

Yes, the budget was crafted largely behind closed doors and out of view of reporters -- and the public. All the more reason for a story, maybe even putting it in the context of doing the people's business while focusing more heavily on internal battles.

Once again, the editors would probably respond that they'll cover the budget when Patrick signs it.

By then it will be too late to know the details -- good and bad -- of what's in the budget or the tax package.

There's something seriously wrong when Metro is outreported by the editorial page.

UPDATE: It's even more appalling when the paper of record is outdone by the Statehouse News Service, which discovers a late-night $189 million raid on the rainy day fund (subscription required) approved about the same time as the Jennifer Callahan controversy is heating up.

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Blogger Rick Burnes said...

One way to deal with the decline in hard news/investigative reporting by professional media is to set up a non-profit local ad network that funds investigative reporting. I've written a bit about this idea here.

Would be interested in your reaction -- challenges with this approach, incorrect assumptions, etc.

May 10, 2008 12:37 PM  

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