Clarification, Please

November 29th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

By Arthur Alpert

I will not pretend that I understand the headline a Journal editor put on the Op Ed essay by E.J. Dionne Jr. published Friday, Nov. 26: “GOP Must Call Bluff on Deficits”.

Let’s look for something justifying the headline.

Dionne begins with a Ronald Reagan joke about the Republican “right hand” not knowing what its “far right hand” was doing.

The GOP right hand today, Dionne suggests, can be seen in the Bowles-Simpson approach to the deficit, which would cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid sharply, but at least “takes the deficit seriously.”

Meanwhile, says, Dionne, the GOP’s far right hand (Republicans in Congress) are determined to add $700 billion to the deficit by making permanent the “Bush-era tax cuts for the best-off Americans.”

See anything yet that would explain the headline? Me neither.

Cutting to the chase, I find no clarification in the remainder of the column, which Dionne concludes with a question. “Will Speaker Boehner be serious about deficits or not?”

So the rubric resists understanding. At least, I cannot make head or tail of it.

Which may mean that Journal headline writers are improving.

You see, as we have often documented here, Journal headlines habitually misrepresent the stories or opinions below them. Or argue with what’s below them. Once or twice, they’ve actually ridiculed what’s below.

So if this headline is just inane, it could represent a step forward at our daily newspaper. For all we know, professionalism is just around the corner.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Keith Morris

    Perhaps they meant “GOP must call its own bluffs on deficits”, but they ran out of room. Then they’re just guilty of poor planning, and not bad journalism.

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