For what may be the first time in U.S. budget history, the Office of Management and Budget and Congressional Budget Office are both going to release their mid-session budget reviews on the same day — next Tuesday, August 25th. That will be the day when anyone who actually looks at this report will be able to, in the immortal words of the Doublemint chewing gum commercial, “double your pleasure, double your fun.”
I was told yesterday by someone on the inside who should know that this unprecedented budget doublebill was not planned and was a function of vacation schedules rather than an insidious conspiracy. Nevertheless, the two reports being released at the same time does raise some interesting media possibilities.
- It almost certainly will reduce the amount of coverage the mid-session reviews will receive. Instead of the reports being covered on separate days and, therefore, generating two stories, the two will now be covered in one story on one day.
- It will be up to columnists and bloggers to discuss the story the next day and, like everyone else in America, many will be on vacation next week.
- The dual release will put some real pressure on news outlets. At a time when the number of reporters and producers is down in general in most outlets for financial reasons, having to cover two reports on the same subject on the same day will be a challenge.
- The challenge will be even greater because of the number of reporters who also will be on vacation next week. People who don’t normally cover the budget may have to be pressed into service.
Before anyone insists that this is clearly a plot to avoid commentary on the numbers, keep in mind that the reports are being released on a Tuesday. If someone really wanted to limit this news, the reports would be released on the burial ground for public affairs, economic, and financial news: Friday.