Although President Obama and the Democrats have stridently insisted that increased tax revenues be part of a debt ceiling deal, CNN is content to choose sides and paint only the conservative Republicans as stubborn extremists for opposing the revenue increases. Anchor Kyra Phillips asked Thursday morning if Republicans would listen to the warning of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to the House GOP not to shut down the government over spending cuts and taxes.
The network has previously resorted to using moderate Republicans and conservatives like David Brooks to frame the Tea Party congressmen as fringe. Their latest source is McCain, who warned Republican House members that the government shutdown in 1995 helped spur President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election. "Will they listen?" CNN said of Republicans, as if Sen. McCain was the voice of reason.
As this is not the first showdown over a possible government shutdown, so also is it not the first time the media have slammed Republicans as extremists during a debt ceiling standoff.
Before the 1995 government shutdown, a November 20, 1995 Time/CNN poll asked "Do you agree or disagree that the Republicans in Congress are going too far in cutting back government programs?" The poll was begging the answer that indeed, the Republicans were taking matters too far.
Around that same time, in Time's Man of the Year cover story on Newt Gingrich, Nancy Gibbs and Karen Tumulty wrote of the House Speaker, "Under pressure he reverted to the pompous thug of late-night cable." They also accused him of shutting the government down just to make a point with President Clinton.
Below is the text of CNN's question, which aired on July 21 at 10:27 a.m. EDT:
KYRA PHILLIPS: John McCain warns GOP House members to remember 1995. That government shutdown is often credited for Clinton's successful re-election in '96. So will they listen?