Today, we have a stark contrast: blue states like California, New York and Illinois are careening toward bankruptcy as a result of the irresponsible policies imposed by their Democratic politicians, while red states like Texas, Utah and the Dakotas are showing the way to prosperity.It's true that on the topic under discussion in the NPR piece, South Dakota looks bad from a "proportionality" standpoint. But what about the 5 states with worse numbers than South Dakota? The two worst states, by NPR's own account, are Washington and Minnesota, why not report on those two?
North Dakota is perhaps the most famous example; it has unemployment only because a few people are between jobs. There are many more jobs than people in North Dakota, so the state eagerly recruits workers from the rest of the country. But South Dakota is, arguably, an even better example of red state success, because it doesn’t have any oil. Despite being oil-free, South Dakota’s unemployment rate is around one-half the national rate. Its economy is booming. Why? When I talk with business leaders around the country who have facilities in South Dakota or who deal with businesses there, they invariably emphasize the quality of South Dakota’s labor force. The phrase “work ethic” comes up again and again. And, of course, South Dakota has a friendly business climate. It hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1974. And there isn’t a union in sight.
In a sane world, the news media would disseminate information about which states are most successful and what policies they pursue, so that other states can emulate them. That is a pipe dream, of course: we all know that in the world we actually inhabit, our media have an entirely different agenda.
Which leads me to the three-part hit-piece that NPR recently did on South Dakota.
All of this makes sense to a liberal journalist. If you are going to undertake a “yearlong investigation” of a state agency, concluding with the sensational claim that financial corruption and “cultural bias” are causing minority children to be “kidnapped” at a disproportional rate, are you going to waste your time in states like Minnesota and Washington? Don’t be silly–those states are run by Democrats, like you!The author of the linked piece is going to dissect NPR's report in detail in upcoming posts, and closes with this:
For the moment, however, let’s just pause to consider why NPR thought it necessary to do a hit piece on South Dakota at all.
Update, 11/11/11: Powerline continues its debunking of NPR's story. Remember, NPR operates with taxpayer money.