Blogger Bill Scher does a thorough and important dissection of a recent CNN.com story that purported to examine possible pork layered into infrastructure spending requests recently made big city mayors.
There's nothing wrong with that premise in terms of good enterprise reporting. The problem, according to Scher, was that CNN simply gave a platform to conservative partisans to sound off about "pork" without providing a larger context.
For instance, the CNN article raised red flags because:
A report to Congress that requests $73.2 billion to pay for infrastructure projects around the country includes plans for a polar bear exhibit, an anti-prostitution program, a water park ride, zoos, museums and aquatic centers, CNN has found...Those projects -- plus money for aquatic centers, museums, bike paths, zoos, skateboard parks, dog and equestrian parks, police department stun guns, tree planting and murals -- total $376.5 million.
1) Do the math. CNN claims the mayors' request includes $376.5 million of "pork." But the entire request totals $73.2 billion.
That means one-half of one percent of the proposal is pork, and 99.5% are solid requests.