With most print and broadcast media busy focusing titanic attention on the looming federal government partial shutdown tonight, noting it would be the first such action in nearly two decades, Grumpy Editor calls attention to a more recent shutdown --- less than seven months ago with scant coverage --- when Washington turned off the lights.
Washington comes to a standstill when only a few inches of snow cripples the area. Thus, it was a “snow day” --- without coast-to-coast, wide-scale front-page fuss over federal operations shuttered in the region.
That’s what happened March 6 this year in the District of Columbia when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management called a snow day, allowing federal workers to stay home with full pay.
About 320,000 federal workers are affected when Washington closes office doors.
Media didn’t get too excited with a questionable shutdown (via a snow day) in Washington that occurred Christmas week, 2009. With a heavy snowfall on Friday night (Dec. 18) and Saturday, many federal employees stayed home on Monday, without losing pay --- 36 hours after the flakes stopped falling.
With the approaching national shutdown, about 40 percent of the federal workforce of 2 million people could be furloughed without pay.
In the countdown to a shutdown, Republican action from the House two days ago would keep the government funded through Dec. 15, delay the health care law, repeal a 2.3 percent medical device tax and assure payments to military personnel.
While House members were busy trying to hammer out a solution over the weekend, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., gave members of his legislative chamber the weekend off.
Senators return today at 2 p.m. --- 10 hours before the fiscal year ends.
Meanwhile, with the shutdown drama on Capitol Hill, the Washington Post reported President Obama on Saturday played golf at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.
As for today's weather, no snow is in the forecast.
Most newspapers snub Sen. Cruz’s endurance
Grumpy Editor asks: If you were a newspaper editor, would you front-page someone speaking 21 hours and 19 minutes non-stop while standing continuously and with no “rest period” breaks or time out for food?
Well, most editors around the nation looked the other way when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, engaged in a talkathon against the health care law in the Senate starting last Tuesday afternoon.
Most of the next day’s major newspapers ignored the effort.
Absolutely no front-page mention, even in briefs, was observed in the New York Times, Detroit News, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Miami Herald.
However, The Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe worked in front-page references to stories inside the “A” sections.
Despite extraordinary use of his voice, before going home Cruz then went on Rush Limbaugh’s radio talk show for a further discussion.
In case you missed these…
More staff chopping ahead at Tribune Co.? The parent of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and others is in a budget review process that will determine further staff reductions. Over the last three years, the company slashed about 2,200 jobs, with about 11,500 remaining on payrolls…London’s Lloyds List, the world’s oldest continuously published newspaper, will end its print edition in December and go digital.
In marketing developments: Burger King promotes new lower fat/calories fries in the U.S. --- produced by Canadian firm McCain Foods Ltd., which also makes fries for Wendy’s and McDonalds…Wrong placement? A TV commercial for blackhead dissolving gel aired over the weekend on the Wall Street Journal Editorial Report on Fox News Channel.
A nifty deal tailored for “Norm” on the old Cheers TV show: Groupon, the daily deals website, last week offered eight hours of an open bar at a Las Vegas Strip location for $24.99 --- “a $50 value.”