NPR: An Unnamed President's Dire Sequester Threats Haven't Panned Out -- But Maybe They Will Later
Some prominent US leader made threats about immediate dire consequences that would occur if the sequester went into effect, but NPR doesn't seem to know the identity of that leader. In a lengthy nine-minute piece featuring an NPR host and six NPR correspondents, the word "Obama" was nowhere to be found.
On Friday's Morning Edition, taxpayer-subsidized NPR's most-listened-to show, fill-in host David Greene said that "we heard some ominous warnings" about the results of the sequester, but he didn't identify the source of those "ominous warnings" -- nor did any of the six NPR correspondents in the piece: Brian Naylor, Tom Bowman, Julie Rovner, Yuki Noguchi or Claudio Sanchez. Instead, they spoke of potentially devastating harm that may occur at some point in the future.
Greene asked NPR education correspondent Claudio Sanchez if it was true that "Head Start was going to lose 70,000" slots for children. Sanchez answered with "that's true" and that Head Start was just one example of "how hard the sequestration has hit some education programs." When he actually provided specifics, however, Sanchez had no devastating examples and said nothing about lost Head Start slots for children.
In one of his segments, veteran NPR reporter Brian Naylor, Washington Desk Correspondent, put forth liberal partisan Democrat Stan Collender, former Democratic aide to Congressional budget committees and current Financial Communications Director for public relations firm Qorvis, as a neutral observer, but no Republican to balance Collender. Naylor simply described him as a "budget expert" who "has worked for both the House and the Senate budget committees," then glowingly referred to his assessment as "blunt." Greene also agreed that it was "blunt."
No one could detail significant harmful consequences to the federal government that have resulted from a month of sequestration. But, like Obama, they want you to know that there could be some really serious harm done-at some point in the future.
Transcript excerpts (emphasis mine):
DAVID GREENE, HOST: We heard some ominous warnings that the sequester would close national parks, shut down medical research, interrupt meat inspections and even put some air traffic controllers out of work.
This is affecting practically every part of the federal government, which explains why I'm joined by quite a team of NPR correspondents - Brian Naylor, Tom Bowman, Julie Rovner, Carrie Johnson, Yuki Noguchi and Claudio Sanchez. Good morning to all of you. I have not interviewed a group this big since the cast of "Downton Abbey," I don't think.
GREENE: Let me turn to you, Claudio Sanchez, you cover education for us. We heard a lot about potential cuts. One of them that alarmed a lot of people was that Head Start was going to lose 70,000 slots. Is that happening? Are families facing that?
CLAUDIO SANCHEZ, BYLINE: That's true, David. Head Start is a good example of how hard the sequestration has hit some education programs across the country. Head Start programs have already had to slash FIVE percent from their budget, totaling about $406 million. Some programs are shutting down early in the day. A few may have to shut down for the summer, posing a big problem for poor working parents. Others have found ways to cut without hurting families.
One Head Start program in Tampa, Florida, for example, is not contributing any more to their employees' retirement fund so that the program can continue running normally.
NAYLOR: That's right. [Agencies] have no discretion and it's been a big problem. I spoke to a budget expert, Stan Collender. He worked for both the House and the Senate budget committees and he's very blunt about the way this was brought about. Let's hear what he had to say.
STAN COLLENDER: This is the silliest, stupidest, most inane possible way to cut the budget. You know, it doesn't allow for priorities. It maintains programs at some level that you might want to wipe out completely and doesn't allow you to meet needs in other areas. So from every possible, imaginable angle, this is just not the way to do this, although it's the only way that we could probably get it done politically.
GREENE: That's blunt.