ARE NEWSPAPER READERS LEARNING? This isn't really my thing, but there's something absurd about Carl Hulse�s writeup of yesterday's Senate action on the estate tax cut and minimum wage bill for The New York Times. Hulse covers this kind of thing professionally and has been writing about this specific bill for a while and presumably isn't some kind of moron. Therefore, Hulse must know what everybody in Washington -- or around the country -- who's been paying attention to this knows: The Republican bill was a political gambit. The GOP didn't want a minimum wage increase. But a minimum wage increase was popular and blocking one threatened to hurt vulnerable Republicans in November. So by linking it to the estate tax cut, they created a situation where Republicans could vote "yes" on a minimum wage increase while Democrats vote "no," thus muddying the waters while also not increasing the minimum wage.

That is the story. And yet, I don't think a person who didn't already know the plotline would be able to figure it out from Hulse's article. What's the point of writing the news this way?

--Matthew Yglesias

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