Liberal-Media Super Committee Beefs Emerge: Too White and Male, Too Pro-Defense?

Just days after suggesting the Republicans who didn't agree to the compromise that created a budget Super Committee were crabby and irresponsible, several media outlets began complaining about the deficiencies of the new super committee. The Washington Post found it to be too white and male, and the AP lamented its representatives were too cozy with defense contractors.

Post reporter Felicia Sonmez asserted the super-committee had ideological diversity, "But the group’s membership is marked by a problem that has plagued Congress — a lack of gender and racial diversity."  It was "dominated by white men," the subheadline underlined. The bean-counting began:

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is the only woman on the panel. House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) is the group’s only Hispanic. And House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (S.C.) is the only African American.

Neither Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) nor House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) appointed any women or minorities among their six picks for the panel.

Sonmez turned to Charlie Gonzalez of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to claim under-representation and to Terry O'Neill of NOW:

Even so, some lawmakers and outside groups have argued that if Congress has tapped the supercommittee to make decisions that affect the country as a whole, its membership should better reflect the country.

“Half the committee ought to be women, even though women only account for 17 percent of the Congress,” Terry O’Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women, said in an interview Friday. “Women are going to be disproportionately affected by what the committee does. I’m very troubled by the fact that these 11 men and one woman are now going to take the place of 535 legislators.”

Over at the AP, political reporter Donna Cassata said the newly powerful Super Committee members would see some damage to their own states if they don't come to agreement on less drastic spending cuts:

For the dozen lawmakers tasked with producing a deficit-cutting plan, the threatened “doomsday’’ defense cuts hit close to home.

The six Republicans and six Democrats represent states where the biggest military contractors - Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co. and Boeing Co. - build missiles, aircraft, jet fighters, and tanks while employing tens of thousands of workers.

The potential for $500 billion more in defense cuts could force the Pentagon to cancel or scale back multibillion-dollar weapons programs. That could translate into significant layoffs in a fragile economy, generate millions less in tax revenues for local governments, and upend lucrative company contracts with foreign nations.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis