I mentioned last night that the Washington Post's online report of the payroll-tax denouement avoided calling it "dysfunction" or "logjam" and instead reported it as an all-out Republican gamble on obstruction, which failed.
How would it play in the print editions this morning? In a very interesting way:
Washington Post: "House GOP surrenders on payroll tax cut" Exactly so.
NYT: "House Republicans Agree to Extend Payroll Tax Cut" OK
WSJ: "Agreement Reached to Extend Tax Break ????? Agreement "reached" ? The WSJ's news page is not where I would have guessed the false-equivalency note to be struck.
On the other hand, we have the WSJ's editorial page. A reader says that I missed the importance of its denunciation of the House Republicans for taking their doomed stand:
I believe you missed a key note...Interesting. And perhaps it was a learned reflex of reacting against whatever their paper's editorial page is saying that led the Journal's usually excellent news judgment astray with this headline.
The Wall Street Journal editorial is itself a reason--perhaps the reason--that the WaPo could run an article as forthright about this being a Republican crisis and Republican capitulation. The greatest tragedy of modern American news is deeper than the "false equivalence", though that is indeed a terrible thing; it's that the GOP Noise Machine frames almost all news discourse. Often, it's the case that if the Republican aren't talking about something, it doesn't get discussed at all; but almost always, anything that gets talked about gets presented in the terms that are set by the Noise Machine.
The Journal editorial made it clear that "this is a crisis of the Republicans" was the permitted narrative, so that's how the WaPo allowed itself to present the issue.