Sunday, September 4, 2011
The Senate Homeland Security hearing will be held on one of those rare days when there is no other major news story for the cable news channels, network news, and national newspapers to cover.
More than likely, much of the footage for the Postal Service stories if not already in the can, will be completed early Tuesday morning so that it can be edited into the questions and testimony at the hearing. The News Hour on PBS will likely focus its largest portion of its broadcast to include both a summary of the hearing as well as a set of talking heads discussing the legislative options that are now on the table.
Fox News will be looking to book Congressmen Darrell Issa and Dennis Ross, and spokespeople from think-tanks that will frequently use the term "bailout" to describe any proposal other than the one Congressmen Issa and Ross have proposed.
MSNBC will find guests that will discuss the economic impact of laying off 220,000 postal workers as well as the impact on rural communities and citizens on the wrong side of the digital divide. Discussions of the anti-union aspects of certain proposals will also be raised
In blogs from the far right to far left, writers looking for a topic will chose the Postal Service. Most will do little more than repeat the writer's philosophical beliefs and show how the Postal Service's problem fits their understanding of Washington's problems that is no different than what they would say on any other hot political topic.
This orgy of talking points recitation will likely last well past mid-day on Wednesday. Without a major international or financial crisis, the Postal Service will an above the fold story in the morning papers, and a major story in the 7 a.m. hour of all morning news shows. Talk radio will use the Postal Service has a great way to fill up an hour or more of time in most host's 3 hour sifts. The Postal Service could get coverage well into Thursday morning if the Postal Service's problems are raised at the President spokesman's daily briefing on Tuesday or at the Republican Presidential debate Wednesday night.
At the end of the two or three days of being above the fold in both print and broadcast media, Postal stakeholders will be back in the same position they are today, with one exception the Postal Service will be two or three days closer to insolvency. Congress will be no closer to finding either a short-term or long-term solution. Given recent history, even the impending deadline of default will not force Congressional action as the political advantage caused by the Postal Service's default will outweigh the harm caused to the 8% of the economy that is the Postal sector, and to the credibility of the Federal Government as a debtor when one of its largest entitities stops paying some of its bills
Posted by Alan Robinson at 8:45 PM