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What The Media Tell Americans About Free Enterprise

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Friday, January 28, 2000

Volume 8, Number 2

Kudos... to CNN's Charles Feldman

All too often, it seems, the media fall into the trap of equating dollars with progress. All things being equal, they reason, a $10 billion program should solve a problem better and faster than a $5 billion program ó and the level of a politicianís commitment can be judged by the amount theyíre willing to spend on an issue.

But MRC news analyst Paul Smith caught CNNís Charles Feldman offering a contrarian position in a report that aired on The World Today on January 13. Feldman seemed to question the conventional notion that spending more on education programs is always good for students.

"From the East Coast to the West Coast," Feldman reported, "states flush with budget surpluses are seemingly giving education a blank check.... But over the past five years, spending on education has already grown, by some estimates, at a rate of more than seven percent."

Feldman then related that "Nina Reese, education analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation, says that although $125 billion in federal money alone was spent since 1965 to close the gap in achievement between high and low income students, that gap has not narrowed. Some argue that states should be less concerned with spending more money on education than with spending existing dollars in smarter ways."

Thatís a perspective thatís not usually given much time on TV news, but itís a timely reminder that journalists need to dig into the details whenever politicians propose new spending programs, as they certainly will this election year. Kudos to CNNís Charles Feldman for at least asking whether more government spending is always the best policy.

ó Rich Noyes


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