CBS CBS oh what happened to CBS (well, we all know, but I like to lament sometimes). Back in the day, the news operations of the networks were considered loss leaders. The best reporting brought the most audience and advertisers liked that. News itself didn’t make money, but it increased viewership numbers which helped the network big time.
Of course those days are over and of course the 22 minute half hour of network news today is little more than a string of press releases followed by a story about a four year old who dialed 911 and saved her mommy and her puppy. Great stuff.
But once in a while they make an effort. And certainly there are still some superb people working for the nets, people like Richard Engel on NBC.
CBS News – once called The Tiffany News Network – decided to do a big serious story about the economy. Here’s Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly (my linker gizmo isn’t working! Wonder what that’s about) :
CBS News sent around a press release yesterday afternoon about a special “In Focus: Debt and Deficit,” hosted by Katie Couric.
The release noted, “With this year’s record-breaking deficit of $1.5 trillion — the biggest ever in U.S. history — and the national debt reaching a whopping $14 trillion, Americans are now faced with making tough choices in order for the country to dig itself out of its national financial mess.”
The press release happened to be wrong. The deficit isn’t $1.5 trillion; it’s $1.29 trillion. The deficit also isn’t “the biggest ever in U.S. history,” neither in real terms nor in percentage of GDP. The national debt hasn’t reached a “whopping $14 trillion” yet, either. All of these errors were in the first paragraph.