HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED….Question: how does the Bush administration get away with saying the things it says? In particular, how can they get away with saying things about their budget proposal that everyone knows are patently absurd? Aren’t they afraid of being called out?

Answer: No. They know that the rules of the game require reporters and headline writers to lead not with the most relevant facts, but rather with a simple description of the administration’s side of the story. They don’t really care if reporters call them on their bogus figures because they know it won’t happen until the end of the story, and virtually no one will see it there. If a million people see the phony numbers and a few thousand see the right ones, it’s a win.

Anyway, that’s the short answer. Brad DeLong has de long answer.

(Sorry about that. Go read Brad’s post anyway.)

UPDATE: On the other hand, the Miami Herald sure manages to pick both the right headline and the right lead for their story about the budget.

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