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Federal Employees News Digest : Jan. 14, 2013
INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1 Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$99 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $99. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2013 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. January 14, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 24 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com sports-term talk during the run-up to (not yet) going over the fiscal cliff. And now it is back, and even worse this time (with news, bad is always better than good) because this is a new Congress. As such, most of its members already have started their 2014 campaigns so they can be reelected to come back yet again to Washington which, according to many, is the nation's largest lunatic asylum Lobbyists, lawyers, journalists, commen- tators, think-tank types and "experts"---real and imagined---abound here in D.C., as well as in places like San Francisco and New York. But mostly here. When things go smoothly, there is little opportunity, or demand, for them to show what they know. It's like being a TV weather person in Tucson, Ariz. Not much real action. The fact is that key members of what some call the chattering class (with yours truly as a bit player) need a crisis to earn their daily crust. Which may explain why so many people in Washington are so stirred up and worried about things that people beyond the beltway don't know or care about, or if they do, ignore, knowing these things almost certainly will go away. But for those of us inside the beltway--- including Washington-based journalists for TV stations and newspapers in other cities and countries, and the members of Congress you folks send us (thanks for that!)---panic is the name of the game. We need a crisis so the key Washington players can "fight" for or against something, and so we then can report it with straight faces and more or less clear consciences. And we also like to have another crisis--- preferably worst than the last one---waiting in the wings. This is an offshoot of the sports reporting mentality: It is more fun (and easier) to cover a sporting event that lasts a couple of hours than it is to cover something more important but a lot more complicated that can run for weeks or even months. Making the debt ceiling battle "fun" requires turning it into a slugfest, rather than treating it as a quasi-political event featuring politicians and economists. Many people in the media are aware of our inbred love of turning serious, heavy stuff into a contest. Two weeks ago, a column by the ombudsman of The Washington Post was headlined "Less on politics, more on government." The ombudsman said the Post does a fine job (true) covering major departments like Defense, Treasury and State, but less well covering lesser-known (at least to most reporters) departments like Agriculture, HUD and other federal organizations which have huge budgets and great respon- sibilities, but which remain under the radar of most taxpayers. The ombudsman, the highly respected Patrick B. Pexton, said the Post and other papers have too many people cov- ering politics and not enough covering government. He said 21 of the 96 people on the Post's national desk cover politics in some form, not including the polling staff and congres- sional reporters, who he said "are often pulled in to cover politics." The Post, like other papers, plans to increase its video news. This is partly due to the huge success of Politico, which is staffed by a number of former top Post people. The problem with producing more, not less, political coverage---dealing with per- sonalities, what people think other people are thinking, etc.---is that it's all specu- lation. No news, just educated (some- times) guesswork. The Post ombudsman said such reporting has skyrocketed and focused on the "White House and Congress and all politics all the time: the polls, the gaffes, who's up, who's down, who's raising the most money." This coverage, Pexton said, "increases the banality of U.S. politics, where issues are never discussed beyond sound bites!" What next? How long until Hollywood comes up with a tightly scripted, closely managed "reality" show featuring castaway politicians? Talk about a bases-loaded, slam-dunk hat trick! This is it!
Dec. 17, 2012
Jan. 21, 2013