Priorities called into question
On March 2, The Seattle Times rightly headlined in bold type on page one the news that the federal government sequestration budget cuts have been put into effect [“Nobody budged”]. As a result of the sequestration, numerous programs will be cut that are crucial in helping people climb out of poverty or maintain a hold in the middle class — including, for example, work-study funds for college students, unemployment benefits, Head Start and the Women, Infants and Children program that provides decent nutrition for disadvantaged pregnant women and infants.
But the editors chose to pair the momentous news about sequestration with a headlined article warning that the Blue Angels may be grounded [“Blue Angels grounded? Seafair plans for worst,”]! In contrast, an article noting cuts to social programs was relegated to page four [“Spending cuts to be widely felt,”].
Do these article placements basically reflect a lack of moral clarity on the part of the newspaper’s editors? Or, worse, did the editors choose the placements based on an accurate reading of the public’s concerns?
–Daniel Burnstein, associate professor emeritus of history, Seattle University, Seattle