John Milburn of the Associated Press published a piece today on the various education proposals of Republican Sam Brownback and Democrat Tom Holland. Entitled “Analysis: School funding crucial,” the piece highlights a tactic used all too often by the press to publish editorial pieces as hard news.
One must look no further for evidence of this than KAKE Channel 10′s website where a condensed version was published under the byline of the Associated Press with no mention of “Analysis,” “Opinion” or otherwise with it.
The fact is in the past decade, “Analysis” has become in vogue with the press to justify using opinion pieces as news. Some claim it to be the brainchild of the mainstream media attempting to further influence the electorate. More likely it is simply the symptom of a press corps seriously strapped for cash partly due to them being completely out of touch on how to report real news relevant to the public.
Whatever the reason, it’s clear they are written in an attempt to publish select facts and influence the public. In this instance, it appears Milburn is attempting to explain away Brownback’s superior proposals on education in Kansas. It’s interesting that in attempting to place blame on the courts rather than the politicians for out of control education spending, Milburn actually validates past arguments by conservatives that unelected judges in Kansas virtually control over half the state’s budget.
While in the actual piece this isn’t necessarily the explicit message, it’s interesting to note this piece from the KAKE Channel 10 revision.
Both Republican Sam Brownback and Democrat Tom Holland say they will focus on preserving what they see as an excellent system of K-12 schools. Where they differ is how they would steer the behemoth system that consumes more than 50 percent of the state budget.
History would suggest that it’s more likely that litigation, not pontification, will decide the course.
In the past two decades, action or the threat of from the Kansas Supreme Court has played a bigger role than activity in the Statehouse.
If these last two sentences are true, then that means that unelected and unaccountable judges control our tax dollars and how they are spent, not elected officials who represent the people. This stronger language by KAKE 10 shows the power of “Analysis” pieces by the press and how they can morph into a story of their own. It just so happens that KAKE happened to take the piece in a direction that highlighted past arguments made by conservatives.
The piece also once again highlights Holland’s curious stance against revising the state’s finance formula due to increased property taxes while simultaneously advocating for increasing a district’s local option budget.
In any case, the public can analyze this, “Analysis” is just another word for “Editorial.”