MEDIA

The Stimulus Coverage, In Microcosm

The economic stimulus package in the Senate is headed to a simple outcome -- passage or failure. Yet even as the storyline draws to an understandable conclusion, the storytellers are getting more and more unhinged.

Basically, if you've watched the news all day, you've been treated to the following plot recaps:

Obama finally acts like winning a news cycle is important, so here's some favorable coverage!

Obama gives a snarky speech! ZOMG! He's totally changing the narrative! He's gone back to the "tough" Obama we all loved during the campaign!

Yay! John McCain transports us back to the halcyon days of the 2008 election. So many people listened to us, back then. Remember?

Oh but look at John McCain! He's getting all in-your-face now, too! Mac is Back! That's MAVERICK! And a third thing we used to always say about John McCain during the campaign...let's see...oooh! TOWN HALL MEETINGS. Happy days are here again!

Oooh, look! Some guy we had on yesterday is cold oratin' himself into a tizzy, on the teevee! LOOKEE LOOKEE!

Yeah, woo! Lindsey Graham's on the floor of the Senate, straight up waving a ream of paper around! Look at that bag of gas get animated! Holy crap! Are you feeling it, America? THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING FOR US!

In other words: LOUD NOISES! SHINY THINGS! But what of the bill itself? What of the logical underpinnings of the package? What of the theory behind it? What does it purport to do? What happens when you fund infrastructure? What happens when you cut taxes? The answer, to all these questions? "Uhm...some stuff! Or else some other stuff! Who was the last person to return our calls? Whatever that guy said!"

Just a little while ago, I heard, amid the din of multiple cable news channels running, one cable news anchor pull out of a conversation on the stimulus with this transition, "But some people say the stimulus package is a virus! A Trojan Horse!" OH NOES! The stimulus package literally has angry Greeks stuffed up inside of it, looking to sack ol' King Priam's city. Don't wheel it in!

Can America afford such terrible sounding metaphors? The debate continues!