—Talking Points Memo had a nice catch of Reuters pulling a story headlined “Backdoor taxes to hit middle class” after the White House pointed out “errors of fact.” Reuters straightforwardly explains why here.

The Las Vegas Sun, via Calculated Risk, provides interesting local reporting from the heart of the housing bust:

In the last four months of 2009, the number of foreclosure sales has dropped and lenders have consented in greater numbers to short sales — in which they allow homes to be sold for less than the owner owes on the mortgage. That trend should continue in 2010, according to Realtors and housing analysts.

Compared to foreclosures, CR explains, this is a good thing.

—Regulators and deregulators alike should read this New Republic piece on Obama quietly beefing up the nation’s regulatory agencies. We’re big on regulatory coverage around here and don’t think there’s been enough of it. We also have noted that active regulation, including Congressional oversight, leads to a lot more information and generally better business journalism.

The TNR piece is smart to note the SEC is so far the exception that proves the new rule about heightened regulatory activism. (h/t TPM)

—Breaking Views offers a sobering perspective on McClatchy’s prospects, even as earnings start to recover. Bottom line: Even if revenue declines slow to a rate of 10 percent a year (wow), the newspaper company could seen interest cost eating up 40 percent of operating income.

—The business press’s attempts to gauge the economic climate is probably itself an economic indicator, and this WSJ story seems to echo the current press consensus on the economy:

“Data Hit Hopeful Notes for Economy”

Here’s hoping.

—And Allan Sloan names the next bailout candidate: Social Security.

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Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014). Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.