AP “Speculating” About Budget Delay Instead of Checking the History
Tom Raum offers up a provocative AP story about the fact that we won’t be getting a Mid-Session Review on the budget from OMB for a little while yet:
The release of the update — usually scheduled for mid-July — has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town on its August 7 summer recess.
Now it’s true that this “usually” happens in mid-July. But it’s also “usually” the case that the President in any given July is the same President you had the previous July. In transition years, it’s normal for the budget process to be pushed back in time. The 1993 budget review came out at the end of August and the 2001 budget review came out on August 22. There’s no conspiracy here.
Meanwhile, note the annoying tendency of important media actors to “go meta” rather than acknowledging their own role in the process. Tom Raum of the Associated Press is doing the speculating here. But instead of admitting that that’s what he’s doing, thus creating a situation in which I can say “Tom Raum speculates such-and-such but he’s wrong,” Raum is pretending to be reporting on the existence of speculation that has nothing to with his own article. In the current version of the story, graf twenty-two finally gives us “[t]hey blame the delay on the fact that this is a transition year between presidencies” with no acknowledgement that Obama’s schedule is, in fact, identical to the schedules involved in the past two transition years.