Government Shutdown? It's a Media Fantasy

Howard Kurtz: It's not going to happen, but journalists love the fake drama

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 3, 2011 3:50 PM CST

(Newser) – Phew, we just barely avoided a government shutdown with the latest stopgap spending measure, right? "Not a chance," writes Howard Kurtz in the Daily Beast. "There was never going to be a shutdown." What's more, when the drumbeat to potential doom begins again in two weeks, both on TV news and in print, it will be just as bogus. OK, it's possible a shutdown will happen, "but the odds are overwhelming that another compromise will be cobbled together when it is set to expire," writes Kurtz.

What we saw and heard "was a classic media-generated story, based more on political posturing and a thirst for melodrama than any real evidence that federal agencies would be forced to close their doors," he writes. Neither party is politically stupid enough to risk the potential backlash, but the media is willing to go along with the charade because those countdown clocks are a lot more interesting that the real budgetary nitty gritty.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, right, accompanied by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, right, accompanied by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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