Journalism Lesson for Ron Elving at NPR’s Weekend Edition: You Don’t Know What Republican Members of Congress “Think” About Aid to State and Local Governments

December 05, 2020

I’m not sure why it is so hard for reporters to just tell us what politicians say and do, instead of telling us what they think and believe. This may be news for reporters, but politicians don’t always believe the things they say. For example, almost 90 percent of the Republicans in Congress will not say that Joe Biden won the election (two say Donald Trump won), however, I am quite certain that the overwhelming majority of these politicians understand that Biden’s 306 electoral votes give him the presidency.

Anyhow, our latest episode of reporters telling us what politicians “see” and “think” came on NPR’s Weekend Edition, where Ron Elving told us that many Republican members of Congress are opposed to another pandemic relief package because they don’t “see” the need for more money for state and local government and that they “think” the economy can get by without it. While it is possible that these politicians actually do think that further support for the economy is unnecessary, it is also possible that they see political advantage in damaging the economy as much as possible to make a Biden presidency look bad.

It would be best if Elving not assert that these Republican politicians are acting in a way that they see as being good for the country since there is no way he can know that. He should just tell us that they oppose further pandemic relief and not read their minds for us.


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