ABC Cheers 'Breakthrough' Debt Deal, Ignores Rising National Debt

The ABC World News cheered Tuesday's "breakthrough" debt deal with nary a mention of the rising national debt.

The House voted to raise the debt limit with no conditions, yet ABC cast the development as entirely positive. Correspondent Jeff Zeleny hailed the move as "a huge breakthrough for the dysfunction that really has held this capital hostage for nearly three years."

ABC's reason for optimism was that the debt deal avoided a government default: "We've seen the government shutdown, we saw the government being pushed to the brink of default. This one vote tonight, George, ended all of that."

The Heritage Foundation reported Monday that the U.S. national debt has exceeded $17 trillion. "If serious reforms—cutting spending and reforming the entitlement programs on auto-pilot—don’t happen," the report stated, "the national debt is projected to increase by another $10 trillion over the next decade. That would mean about $200,000 per household."

Below is a transcript of the segment:

ABC
WORLD NEWS
2/11/14
[6:37 p.m. EST]

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Across the Capitol, a rare breakthrough in Congress. The House has just voted to raise America's debt limit without any conditions. A clean resolution to an issue that sparked bitter feuds, government shutdowns, and threats of default over the last few years. ABC's Jeff Zeleny is covering the back-and-forth on Capitol Hill tonight, and Jeff, this is a huge reversal for House Republicans.

JEFF ZELENY, ABC News senior Washington correspondent: George, a huge reversal indeed and a huge breakthrough for the dysfunction that really has held this capital hostage for nearly three years. We've seen the government shutdown, we saw the government being pushed to the brink of default. This one vote tonight, George, ended all of that. 28 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats to say it's enough of this infighting, at least for now. It's time for this to end. One Republican lawmaker told me, George, our stomach is not still here for brinksmanship.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, but the Tea Party had a stomach for that brinksmanship. They're not happy with Speaker Boehner. Can they do anything about it?

ZELENY: Well the Tea Party said that they are so upset at Speaker Boehner, they are calling for his ouster. But look, Speaker Boehner has told Republicans and me, Republicans need to pick smart battles. And they know that they want to keep the eye squarely focused on President Obama and that unpopular health care law in this mid-term elections and not make it about them, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They think they can pick up seats. Okay Jeff, thank you.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014