ABC Hypes 'Upper Hand' Dems Have on Fiscal Cliff, Risk of Recession

ABC News continued to hype the Democratic position on the fiscal cliff, Sunday. World News Reporter David Kerley touted the White House as "confident with the stronger hand in talks with House Republicans, demanding and believing tax rates for the wealthy are going up."

The reporter did play a clip of Boehner rejecting tax increases, but Kerley made sure to point out the Speaker "hasn't outlined possible cuts." In one of multiple clips of  Tim Geithner, the Treasury Secretary lectured, "They have to come to us and tell us what they think they need. What we can't do is to keep guessing. "

After playing up the Democratic strengths, Kerley then shifted to a dire warning:

DAVID KERLEY: We've enjoyed a two percent cut in payroll taxes. That will disappear. And then the government will start cutting, $500 billion in spending, half at the Pentagon. The other half from federal spending from everything from education, transportation to food safety and research.

He then added, "All of that could send all of us back into recession."

Last week, ABC reporter Jon Karl pushed the GOP to compromise and abandon Grover Norquist, the "anti-tax enforcer."

A transcript of the December 2 segment is below:


6:10

DAVID MUIR: Back in this country tonight and in Washington this evening where the fierce battle to avoid that fiscal cliff took a new turn today. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner making a bold prediction that there's a good chance, he says, that Republicans will go along with a tax hike for the healthy. But it certainly didn't sound that way on the other side. And so, what is at stake for the average American family with 30 days to go until the deadline? ABC's David Kerley at the White House tonight.

DAVID KERLEY: President Obama and his White House team appear confident with the stronger hand in talks with House Republicans, demanding and believing tax rates for the wealthy are going up.

TIM GEITHNER: There is no responsible way we can govern this country with those low rates in place for future generations. Those rates are going to have to go up.

JOHN BOEHNER: I was just flabbergasted. I looked at him and said, "you can't be serious."

KERLEY: The two sides are seriously far apart. The President wants $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over three years. The Speaker is offering half that. The President will pony up $600 billion in cuts to Medicare and other programs. Not enough says the Speaker, but he hasn't outlined possible cuts.

BOEHNER: If we gave the President $1.6 trillion of more money, what do you think he is going to do with it? He is going po spend it. That is what Washington does.

GEITHNER: They have to come to us and tell us what they think they need. What we can't do is to keep guessing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So the ball is in their court?

GEITHNER: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And they understand that.

KERLEY: The good news, it appears the mortgage reduction is not part of these talks. So, if they don't make a deal and we do go over the fiscal cliff what does it mean for you? Well, nearly every will American will pay more income tax as rates go up, between $2,000 and $2400 for the average family. We've enjoyed a two percent cut in payroll taxes. That will disappear. And then the government will start cutting, $500 billion in spending, half at the Pentagon. The other half from federal spending from everything from education, transportation to food safety and research. All of that could send all of us back into recession. So, where do the talks stand? Boehner says they are nowhere. And the Speaker has a description for the President's negotiation style. He says it's roll over and do what I say. Not a good sign, David, with 30 days until the cliff.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org