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Monday, 11 August 2014 06:25

The Wall Street Journal: The Funny Papers of Modern Journalism

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The Wall Street Journal. (Photo:<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/illinoislibrary/8291680651/in/photolist-dCH2Me-9AYvYM-eDRW13-9e8fH2-9ebkv9-9e8fvr-7brHJ8-8b11DX-u6etH-awkRRU-2iv3Fb-75WYfa-2iuXiJ-7F2FjD-2iqAGF-2iuXuh-au5NWQ-88qLPS-ehu2qR-7EQtcF-8DAPZr-6Xv3Br-2QhMtV-diFnk9-aMjhnR-diFohG-diFqFv-diFpfa-diFpZV-diFr14-diFnKU-8txPXP-9ZWPbS-95KUnw-3in7t2-83742A-iKeoJG-axzk1t-apbpRL-a9q2W-9xmBx6-oXzsb-aeLG8K-9dgR8H-5VuwZL-5AWpnd-c223F-dsqc1f-hMJKST-iv1RR" target="_blank">  University of Illinois Library / Flickr</a>)The Wall Street Journal. (Photo: University of Illinois Library / Flickr)PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Funny, in a sad sort of way.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) gets respect from the mainstream because it speaks for the money interests. To many of those outside its golden circle, the commentary of its writers is generally suspect, occasionally frightening, and often unintentionally humorous.

Delusion: Middle-class Americans have more buying power than ever before.

WSJ compares the present day to the 1950s, ignoring changes in education costs, health care expenses, debt repayment and financial fees. The Journal built on the delusion by printing the insensitive headline What Recession? and by counseling its readers, Don't be alarmed by high rates of "economic insecurity."

The Journal's "prosperity for all" fantasy includes their assurance that cutbacks in food stamps don't hurt children, even though in real life almost half of food stamp recipients are children.


Denial: We shouldn’t be building windmills and all that rubbish.

That comes from WSJ boss Rupert Murdoch, who continued as if only rich people matter: "The Maldives might disappear...we just have to stop building vast houses on seashores."

Climate change denial seems to be WSJ's greatest passion. The Journal claims that both carbon dioxide and global warming may actually be beneficial to the planet. Their "science writers" managed to reduce the whole multivariate phenomenon of global warming to the isolated effect of carbon dioxide on plants, all to the bewilderment of the 97 percent of actively publishing scientists who agree that climate change is real and human caused.

Alternative energy, on the other hand, is incoherently dismissed by WSJ as "environmentally damaging," with wind and solar accused of being "extremely land intensive," even though the Department of Energy says the exact opposite.


Disinformation: Proponents of a securities transactions tax look upon it as a way to punish sinners (securities traders)

Provocative statements like this allow the editors to get their point across while implicitly suggesting that their opponents are the wacky ones. While the rest of us pay a steep sales tax for shoes and school supplies, investors pay ZERO sales tax on their million-dollar purchases. A speculation tax, given factual analysis, is a logical and obvious and long-overdue tax.

More deception with the capital gains tax. WSJ says: By reducing the penalty for transferring capital from one investment to another, these lower tax rates increased the mobility of capital. High-income taxpayers sold more assets, declared more income, and paid more taxes.

In other words, according to WSJ logic, a lower tax rate means more tax revenue. A curious conclusion, even for WSJ. Based on oft-discredited theory. But by using fine-sounding, meaningless phrases like "mobility of capital," and by posing a behavioral outcome that fits their philosophy, WSJ is able to sound like they know what they're talking about.


Debasement: Progressives are like Nazis

WSJ provides a forum for people like venture capitalist Tom Perkins, who said: I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich."

In addition to insulting progressives, WSJ writers have blamed rape victims for "reckless alcohol consumption," targeted Palestinians for an alleged willingness to kill Palestinian children, and, through the voice of Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute, demeaned less fortunate Americans: Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn't hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms.


Darn Funny: The most important danger [in New York City] is the bicyclists

This came from WSJ editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz. To the disciples of the Wall Street Journal, a bicycle is more of a nuisance than poverty and inequality and police brutality and racism. They would prefer that the lower classes worry about all that.

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Paul Buchheit is a writer for progressive publications, and the founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org). Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .