Thanks to the 2006 and 2008 elections, conservatives no longer control the American government. They do, however, continue to essentially control the American media. As a case in point, you’ve probably heard that part of the Obama administration’s plan to pass health reform is to use the budget reconciliation process. The reason you’ve probably heard is that the press has been obsessed with the topic, repeatedly labeling it a “controversial” move that would “ram” legislation via an end-run around the normal legislative process.”
In fact, though most bills do not go through the reconciliation process—typically because their subject matter makes them ineligible—the process has been invoked frequently since 1980. And the reason it’s remained obscure until 2010 is that until the health-care debate, the press never saw fit to go into conniptions over congressional procedure.
Some of the mainstream media coverage of the reconciliation issue has been bad. Some of it, like this excellent NPR story, has been good.
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