Sometimes, a member of the serious press likes to get in on the gossip action by reporting that someone or other is spreading some sort of rumor. This doesn’t happen all that often, because editors tend to strip unsubstantiated gossip from copy at grown-up newspapers, but Dana Milbank gets this tidbit in at the end of his column today:
“Can I keep this as a souvenir?” the minority leader asked. He carried the cookware back to his Suburban, but before his security detail could whisk him away, Boehner was intercepted by a liberal blogger trying to implicate him in a sex scandal.
This was no way to treat a founding father.
Well! Just enough information to get the rumor out there, but not enough to actually allow a reader to figure out how trustworthy the source is.
That’s why we have the New York Post’s Page Six, which goes into the details of the rumor at some length, while ostensibly attacking the liberal blogger for spreading it. (A classic Page Six move.)
The supposed news is liberal blogger smearing Boehner. But Page Six is really reporting the smear itself:
A blogger from liberal Web site The Daily Kos pierced through Boehner’s security detail at yesterday’s unveiling of his leadership policy “Pledge to America” to ask if he was sleeping with a lobbyist from the Printing Industries of America.
The lobbyist who was named in the confrontation and then was contacted by he Daily Kos blogger Lisbeth Lyons denied the accusations. “As you can imagine, I was stunned by such a question,” Lyons said. “I found it to be highly insulting, particularly as a female political professional, as well as unfounded. Beyond that, I have no further comment on the matter.”
Insiders on Capitol Hill are buzzing about an upcoming New York Times exposé that will detail an alleged Boehner affair. Sources say the Times is looking for the right time to drop the story in October to sway the election, similar to how the Times reported during the 2008 presidential campaign on an alleged John McCain affair that supposedly had taken place many years before and that was flatly denied by the woman in question.
For decades, the wealthy have grown richer while the middle class shrink and poverty increases exponentially. Most Americans are clueless regarding wealth inequality in this nation. FDR fought off the bankers and corporatist in the 30’s. Yet today, they thrive more than ever, leaving many of us a paycheck away from destitution…
Americans vastly underestimate the degree of wealth inequality in America, and we believe that the distribution should be far more equitable than it actually is, according to a new study.
Or, as the study’s authors put it: “All demographic groups — even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy — desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.”
The report (pdf) “Building a Better America — One Wealth Quintile At A Time” by Dan Ariely of Duke University and Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School (hat tip to Paul Kedrosky), shows that across ideological, economic and gender groups, Americans thought the richest 20 percent of our society controlled about 59 percent of the wealth, while the real number is closer to 84 percent.
More interesting than that, the report says, is that the respondents (a randomly selected 5,522-person sample, reflecting the country’s ideological, economic and gender demographics, surveyed in December 2005) believed the top 20 percent should own only 32 percent of the wealth. Respondents with incomes over $100,000 per year had similar answers to those making less than $50,000. (The report has helpful, multi-colored charts.)
The respondents were presented with unlabeled pie charts representing the wealth distributions of the U.S., where the richest 20 percent controlled about 84 percent of wealth, and Sweden, where the top 20 percent only controlled 36 percent of wealth. Without knowing which country they were picking, 92 percent of respondents said they’d rather live in a country with Sweden’s wealth distribution.
As the new Forbes billionaires list, released Wednesday, testifies, the richest Americans are getting richer, even as the country as a whole gets poorer. After 2005 income inequality continued to balloon.
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- Blogger Susie Madrak Asks David Axelrod: “Do You Know What Hippie Punching Means?” (news.firedoglake.com)
- With ‘Pledge to America,’ House GOP shoots, misses (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Reactions to the ‘Pledge to America': Mixed, But Mostly Negative (newsweek.com:80)
- Wisco’s News Roundup for 9/23/2010 (grantlawrence.blogspot.com)
- GOP Pledges To America To Become The Official ‘Party Of Undo’ (mediaite.com)
- Morning Briefing for September 24, 2010 (redstate.com)
- Liberal Blogger Accuses White House Of “Hippie Punching” (outsidethebeltway.com)