On Saturday, The Hill reported that momentum in the budget battle had shifted to the Democrats, in an odd and thinly-sourced story. The article cited “political experts” twice as the source of claims such as these:
Momentum in the partisan messaging battle over who’s to blame if the government shuts down has shifted in recent weeks to favor Democrats, according to political experts. …
Political experts say the outspoken role of the Tea Party will influence the blame game if there there’s a government shutdown.
Despite the use of plurals in both cases, the article only quotes one person in each instance to support the specific position. The first time, Alexander Bolton quotes a professor of political science from Rutgers University offering nothing more substantial than a personal opinion. The source of the second argument is a director from the Brookings Institution, a center-left think tank that is hardly objective when it comes to the Tea Party. Their latest posting on the subject features a panel discussion on just how fascist the Tea Party might be.
Two days later, The Hill follows up with actual objective poll data that offers readers an Emily Litella moment:
A plurality of likely voters believes Republicans have been more reasonable than Democrats in the negotiations over spending cuts.
A new poll conducted for The Hill showed 41 percent polled said the GOP had been “more reasonable,” while 29 percent said Democrats had been more sensible. Twenty-two percent said neither party was more reasonable than the other, and 7 percent were not sure.
The message is clear: The Hill needs to find more intelligent “political experts.”