The Post's idea of "the man in the street" 

It’s standard practice for newspaper reporters to quote “the man in the street”—ordinary individuals whose personal experiences are examples of the practical results of larger political or economic developments. But how typical are these persons in the street? At least one of them makes a practice of getting himself quoted and has been unmasked by the bipartisan team of  Mickey Kaus and Ann Coulter; I won’t mention his name here. But today’s front page story in the Washington Post on the effects of $4 a gallon gasoline has a couple of prime examples. First we get


“D.C. resident Amber Sutton, who drives 25 miles each way to her job in Woodbridge, said rising gasoline prices have caused her to cut back on restaurants and other entertainment.”

Whatcha wanna bet she’s a friend of or a friend of a friend of one of the reporters? There are a lot more people who commute from Woodbridge in toward the center of Washington than from the center of Washington out to Woodbridge, but the Post gets someone who probably lives within a mile or two of 1150 15th Street, N.W.

But the real laugh-out-loud example was the following:

“Nearly three-quarters of Americans says higher prices could slow their spending in other areas in the months ahead, according to a Deloitte survey of consumers’ spending intentions.

“’We have an au pair from France, and she recently filled up our minivan and gave me a bill for $70,’ said Melanie Janin, a mother of three from Bethesda. ‘I was like, “Oh, my God.”’”

Ah, the typical American!

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Michael Barone

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