Paul Krugman argues in the New York Times today (11/18/11) that the failure of the Congressional supercommittee might be a good thing, and that public understanding of what’s really happening is hampered by a familiar media problem.
He also makes a pretty safe bet about what coverage is going to look like if they fail to reach a deal:
So the supercommittee brought together legislators who disagree completely both about how the world works and about the proper role of government. Why did anyone think this would work?
Well, maybe the idea was that the parties would compromise out of fear that there would be a political price for seeming intransigent. But this could only happen if the news media were willing to point out who is really refusing to compromise. And they aren’t. If and when the supercommittee fails, virtually all news reports will be he-said, she-said, quoting Democrats who blame Republicans and vice versa without ever explaining the truth.
And he adds for good measure:
Oh, and let me give a special shout-out to “centrist” pundits who won’t admit that President Obama has already given them what they want. The dialogue seems to go like this. Pundit: “Why won’t the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?” Mr. Obama: “I support a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes.” Pundit: “Why won’t the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?”