In a show of advocacy and not journalism, CNN skirted the policy details of the student loans debate and instead just paddled Congress for letting the loan rates double, on Monday's New Day.
Co-hosts Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo begged Congress to "fix" the student loan rate increase that automatically went into effect on July 1. They dubbed it the "'Come on Congress' campaign." Cuomo scolded Congress: "This student loans thing, we want to be on it just about every day. They can fix it. They know it was a mistake. You can't compromise education in the country, not this way."
CNN's advocacy ignores that perhaps there is an opposing side to the issue. For instance, the Cato Institute's Neal McCluskey argues that "the evidence is pretty powerful that cheap student aid largely fuels rampant tuition inflation." David Wilezol pointed out that the student loan rate hike is a drop in the bucket compared to the much larger problem of "runaway college costs." CNN's New Day didn't mention rising tuition costs, but just focused on the cutting the student loan rate.
In fact, Cuomo accused Congress of ignoring the plight of struggling Americans by allowing the rate to double. "It's not just the fix, though, it's the focus when it comes to these loans, because to these families and these people who need the money to get to school, it's clear they're not at the top of the agenda."
In another shot at Congress, he added that "It's a bad message. We've got to be on them. We have to make them do this,." Kate Bolduan agreed, wondering "Where is the priority?"
Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on New Day on July 8 at 6:52 a.m. EDT:
CHRIS CUOMO: All right, John. I want to enlist you in our "Come on Congress" campaign.
KATE BOLDUAN: It's our new bumper sticker.
CUOMO: This student loans thing, we want to be on it just about every day. They can fix it. They know it was a mistake. You can't compromise education in the country, not this way. They said they would fix it. They keep saying it's easy because it will be retroactive. But, what do we know about what – where the momentum is on this and what the chances it gets done any time soon?
JOHN KING: It's the but part. It's the but part. When you have the Republican leadership, the President of the United States and the Democratic leadership all saying, it was a mistake to let those rates to go up. We're going to cut them back to 3.4 percent. We're going to do it retroactively. Don't worry even if you see that first bill. We'll take care of it. Feel comfortable, right? Except, it's the United States Congress.
They all agree on the goal, but they still have differences over how to get there. And Chris, here's my biggest question mark. They're going to get here on the student loan issue if they stay in a vacuum, but there are so many other potential toxins in the water. They're going to get back to the debt ceiling, back to the budget.
We just talked about immigration. In the Senate, there are a bunch of Obama nominees that the, you know, the Republicans don't like, and there's a big fight over the rules. So, does this become hostage to the other dynamics or can they just say we're going to break this one off and get it done? A great question.
BOLDUAN: And it also, they're just coming off a break, but to remind everybody and you know this well, this is now their crunch period, because they're trying to rush everything in because they want to take all of August off.
KING: They want to go home for the summer. And Kate, it's not just the normal summer break. Next year is the midterm election year, and this sounds silly to most Americans. They say, why can't we worry about the election when we're actually in the election year? But again, that's your United States Congress. That's how they work.
They are trying to get out the door as quickly as possible to get home. And everything they do in 2013, especially as we get later in the year, they're running through the calculation of how is it going to affect me in 2014?
CUOMO: It's not just the fix, though, it's the focus when it comes to these loans, because to these families and these people who need the money to get to school, it's clear they're not at the top of the agenda.
BOLDUAN: Right. Where is the priority?
CUOMO: It's a bad message. We've got to be on them. We have to make them do this, John.
BOLDUAN: All right. John King –
KING: Print those bumper stickers.
CUOMO: Come on Congress.
BOLDUAN: Yes, exactly. "Come on Congress" campaign.