Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this government shutdown has been the inability of the average person to get a handle on what's really going on.
Outfits like the network evening news shows, the Associated Press, the New York Times and others compose their spin, and almost invariably tilt their coverage towards the Obama administration and Democrats; developments favoring the GOP and conservatives, if mentioned at all, get washed away. Two examples from today of shutdown settlement ideas President Barack Obama rejected will prove the point.
The first comes from Rush Limbaugh. As he was following the goings-on in real time during his show today, Rush noted an important development (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Let's talk about the state of play right now. It looks like the Senate Republicans want to give Obama and the Democrats everything they want. They want to give an extension of the continuing resolution through the end of the year, which would then open the government. That would end the shutdown. They want to give them a debt ceiling hike through the middle of January so that we're not going through this during the holidays. Oh, they're also even offering a delay on one Obamacare tax for their union buddies. I mean, it's a total win for Obama. Did you hear how Obama reacted to it? He rejected it. He said the Republicans have offered another ransom.
I sit here, I'm as far away from Washington in the continental US you can get here in Los Angeles and I'm still stunned that those guys much closer than I don't see this. I know you see it, too. Obama does not want a deal.
Other than what Rush saw in TV coverage, Obama's rejection, and the likelihood based on his actions and inaction that he really doesn't want the matter settled, are complete secrets. I have attempted to find evidence that Obama's rejection of the plan to which Senate Republicans acquiesced was covered by an establishment press outlet, and found none.
The second is from early this evening via Jonathan Allen at the Politico, the official establishment press burial ground for inconvenient stories:
President Barack Obama told House Democratic leaders Tuesday that he would veto debt-ceiling legislation if it includes a provision pushed by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and House GOP leaders that would cut health subsidies for congressional and senior executive branch officials, according to sources familiar with the discussion at a private White House meeting.
The version of the provision included in a bill the House is slated to consider Tuesday night would eliminate employer contributions for lawmakers’ and Hill staffers’ health insurance purchases, and require the president, vice president and political appointees to enter into Obamacare exchanges without a tax subsidy.
Obama brought up the issue of the so-called Vitter language unprompted, according to one of the sources.
A search at the Associated Press's national web site on Vitter's last name at 11 p.m ET came up empty. Besides one story at the Hill, I was unable to find another story covering Obama's rejection of Vitter's proposal.
How much different would the nation's perception of who is at fault in this standoff be if they knew that Obama rejected both a Senate Republican surrender attempt and the idea of treating congressional and White House staff the same treatment under Obamacare as the rest of America?
But the original source press rarely mentions items such as these, and if they do, they rarely make it the overall "what happened today" summaries.
This isn't an excuse or justification for caving on one's principles, but it does shed a bit of light on why Congressional and Senate conservatives and Republicans must be so frustrated. Of course, knowing how tilted the media landscape is, they should be doing more to get their message out in other ways.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.