Free Market Friday: Desperate for thorough journalism

July 15, 2016

Jonathan Small

I’m old enough to remember when the “watchdog press” prided itself on keeping an eye on government. So where are the watchdogs when it comes to reporting on the government’s education systems?

Consider, for example, University of Oklahoma President David Boren’s proposed 22-percent increase in the state sales tax rate. Has any reporter dared to raise the question of self-interest?

It is blithely alleged that $125 million annually would go to “improve college affordability.” But has anyone asked: In the long history of giving subsidies to colleges, when has this ever improved affordability? How exactly will it do so now?

Or, consider the dozens of “education candidates” running for the state Legislature. These candidates are interested in a key cluster of issues – opposition to private-school choice, for example, and opposition to what they call a culture of over-testing – but the main issue motivating them is public school finance. They want to see increased government spending on public education.

In all the news reports I’ve read, I have yet to see a journalist express the remotest curiosity about the problem of self-interest. “So let me get this straight– you’re running for office on the platform of having the state give you more money?”

Read the rest over on The Journal Record.