Fair and Balanced? You Decide.

“Road-funding debate stalls,” proclaimed the Times-Dispatch headline over the article covering the transportation debate in the General Assembly yesterday. That was as fair and balanced as the story got. It was all down-hill from there.

After noting that the Democrats had successfully stalled Republicans’ $2.4 billion transportation plan, Michael Hardy and Jeff Schapiro weighed in with this third-paragraph “perspective”:

At the heart of the disagreement, now in its ninth month: the resistance of House Republicans to new taxes, which Democrat Kaine and a bipartisan coalition in the Senate say are the only reliable source of additional transportation funds.

Notice that Hardy and Schapiro did not frame the issue this way:

At the heart of the disagreement, now in its ninth month: resistance of House Democrats and their allies in the Senate to overhauling Virginia’s failed transportation system and land use practices, which a bipartisan coalition of environmentalists and fiscal conservatives says is needed before wasting any more money on it.

The article then quoted by name three Democratic delegates, two Republican senators and a Kaine administration spokesman in support of their side of the issue, before getting around to quoting a two delegates — starting in the 24th paragraph — in defense of their side.

And photos? You asked about photos? Pictured in the newspaper (not the Web version) were Frank Hall, Kristen Amundson, Russell Potts and John Chichester — all certified members of the Axis of Taxes. On the other side? Nobody.

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5 responses to “Fair and Balanced? You Decide.”

  1. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Jim, Yes, that’s better said.

  2. So the Dems want to throw more money at a failed system (hey, we have lots of experience at that one).

    What is the other side? How do the Repubs and Greenpeace want to reshape our transportation system?

    Is it as ludicrous as the first stance, or does it actually make sense?

  3. To Fair and Balanced add trust and accountability, per Larry’s comments below.

    When somebody shows me a land use plan that is fair and balanced, and operatd at a reasonable cost; operated by someone I can trust, who is accountable to the public, then maybe I’ll get on board.

    Throwing money at vague and unproven pronouncements about modifying settlement patterns ot linking land use to transportation is even worse than throwing money at roads. At least with roads we can see what we get.

    And, much as I hate to say it, when it comes to trustworthy, accountable, and fair, then the farther you keep (most) environmentalists away, the better off we will be. Consider conservation easements, for example: driven at least partly by tax fraud and false claims, their whole purpose is to get the land out of government oversight in order to limit accountability, and to do it without actually paying for anything.

    I don’t see anything unlikely about the consrvationists joining with the fiscal conservatives: they both think they can get something for nothing.

  4. Jim Wamsley Avatar
    Jim Wamsley

    jamie may want to review your Friday, September 22, 2006 blog
    “The Blindness Goes On”


    It links to the position letter of 19 organizations.

  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I dunno about fair and balanced. I think the term itself has been corrupted and co-opted but that’s another story.

    I think most new reports have the essence correct – The HD – … read my lips… and the Senate – more mojo or suffer on

    Wonks, bloggers and other “deep” thinkers (ha ha ha) … of course believe that the news in not enough “in-depth”.

    Those that do the news…however, do know their audience and their audience tolerance for “in-depth”…

    And I agree with Ray.

    We’re talking about truly profound changes about things of which we all admit for no objective measures whether they already exist (aka VDOT et al) or prospective land-use practices.

    And a good example is the unintended consequences of conservation easements – good intentions gone wild. ๐Ÿ™‚

    to close..

    I, for one, am not totally convinced that the House Republicans are natural allies with those wanting transportation and land-use reform. I think they are more likely partners of convenience.

    I’m not sure I see the same zeal for reform in the House as I see the zeal for not increasing taxes.

    I’d give a pretty penny though to know where the developer lobby is focusing their efforts in terms of House or Senate or tax or no tax. ๐Ÿ™‚

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