Bernanke’s Stimulus Call Finally Makes The WSJ

Two weeks later.

A couple of weeks ago, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke issued a public call for Congress and the president to pass another round of stimulus for the battered economy:

In general terms, a fiscal program that combines near-term measures to enhance growth and strong, confidence-inducing steps to reduce longer-term structural deficits would be an important complement to the policies of the Federal Reserve.

I noted how odd it was that a press corps that likes to parse the Fed chairman’s every word for evidence of what he’s thinking, and which thought Alan Greenspan’s 2001 support of the Bush tax cuts was worth reams of coverage, and which has devoted front page story after front page story to the Two Old Guys’ Report, somehow didn’t think this was that big a deal.

Papers like The New York Times and Washington Post stuffed the news. The Wall Street Journal didn’t even bother to report it.

I tweaked the Journal again last week for deploying its formidable resources to count how many times TV cameras caught a couple of football coaches bitching at refs but still failing to note the Fed’s fiscal stimulus plea.

So a pat on the back for finally getting around to it today and putting it atop A2:

Top Federal Reserve officials are pressing lawmakers to pair a long-term plan for deficit reduction with new short-term fiscal stimulus to boost an economy that the central bank admits needs more help than it can provide.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has tucked support for a two-part fiscal strategy into speeches, and has pushed it behind the scenes with lawmakers, offering a boost both to deficit hawks and to proponents of spending more or taxing less in the near term.

Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen, in a speech on Wednesday, amplified Mr. Bernanke’s call. “We need, and I believe there is scope for, an approach to fiscal policy that puts in place a well-timed and credible plan to bring deficits down to sustainable levels over the medium and long terms while also addressing the economy’s short-term needs.” Ms. Yellen didn’t elaborate on the latter.

Better late than never.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,