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By Clay Waters | July 15, 2011 | 12:47 PM EDT

New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes’s lead story, “Behind Battle Over Debt, A War Over Government – Deal Elusive as 2 Parties Cling to Principles in Dispute Over Washington’s Role,” reels off a slanted history of recent Washington budget wars. Calmes baldly stated the G.O.P. isn’t serious about deficit reduction and treated Obama’s abrupt negotiating tactic on supposed deep spending cuts as equivalent to the G.O.P.’s long-standing, specific budget proposals

Calmes’s reporting is often weighted toward Democrats, and she has expressed her sympathies for Obama in his dealings with Republicans the last few years, complaining the G.O.P. had not sufficiently “accomodated” the president by passing Obama-care and financial regulation. She wrote for Friday’s lead:

By NB Staff | July 15, 2011 | 11:13 AM EDT

"You know, in Journalism 101, if you're going to ask a question of someone like the president, what you do is, you take, respectfully, you take the opposition's best argument and you play devil's advocate," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell argued on the July 14 edition of "Hannity."

But instead of taking that approach -- which, Bozell noted, the famous liberal reporter Sam Donaldson took both with Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton -- the media have been actively working with Obama to forward the Democratic narrative regarding the debt ceiling negotiations.


By Tim Graham | July 15, 2011 | 10:55 AM EDT

In case you think the House of Representatives can only focus on the big issues right now, Debbie Siegelbaum of the newspaper The Hill corrected that notion on July 13. Once again, House Democrats are extremely agitated that the Republican majority is allowing the use of styrofoam cups.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) on Wednesday introduced an anti-Styrofoam amendment during an Appropriations Committee markup. The proposed legislation did not get far, however. Committee members voted on the amendment down party lines, with the majority torpedoing the measure 26-18.

By Julia A. Seymour | July 15, 2011 | 9:50 AM EDT

The 2010 elections, which changed the balance of power in the House, were driven by popular opposition to government spending, debt and the threat of tax increases. Yet even with the federal debt limit already breached and only days left to prevent a national default, the media continue to ignore the public's wishes.

The theme of network reports on the debt ceiling battle is that some agreement MUST be reached so that the limit can be increased, but many Americans disagree with raising the debt limit and are more concerned about government spending. But that has barely been mentioned in stories.

Polls taken by Gallup, CBS and AP have all registered significant worry about federal debt and opposition to an increase in the debt ceiling. But ABC, CBS and NBC coverage of the debt limit battle being waged on Capitol Hill has not reflected that fact.

Out of 45 reports on the broadcast network's evening news programs between June 16 and July 12, only one mentioned a poll that showed public opposition to raising the debt ceiling. That's a mere 2 percent of reports. An additional two stories had some reference to what the public might think, but without polling data.

By Tim Graham | July 15, 2011 | 6:48 AM EDT

On Thursday’s All Things Considered, NPR profiled conservative activist Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform. Michele Norris began: “In the debate over the debt ceiling, one person who has outsized influence is not actually at the negotiating table.” That might sound good to Norquist’s donors, but when liberal reporters accuse someone of “outsized influence,” it means “too much power for the good of the country.”

Reporter Ari Shapiro signaled hostility by strangely noting that Norquist’s “donor list is not public,” when that is true for almost every tax-exempt political group in Washington (not to mention NPR!):

By Brad Wilmouth | July 15, 2011 | 6:32 AM EDT

 On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a "lightning rod" for sharp criticism from Democrats because of his role in budget negotiations with President Obama. After beginning the report with a clip of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer asserting that Cantor "has yet to make a constructive contribution," and after recounting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had called the Republican leader "childish," Cordes seemed to legitimize the insults as she asserted that Cantor had provided "plenty of ammunition":

By Brad Wilmouth | July 15, 2011 | 12:26 AM EDT

 On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kelly O’Donnell filed a report recounting recent criticisms of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. The report included a clip of Bachmann mispronouncing the word "chutzpah," a video clip produced by gay activists who visited her and her husband’s counseling clinic, and a pledge she signed that included a hyperbolic statement about slavery which has been distorted by liberal critics.

By Tom Blumer | July 14, 2011 | 10:31 PM EDT

As Clay Waters at the Media Research Center's Times Watch reported earlier today ("One of Obama's Emotional Arguments for Obama-Care Proven Wrong in NYT Staffer's New Book"), the New York Times's Kevin Sack ran a story yesterday which "reflects badly on Barack Obama and how he misled people in his campaign for Obama-care."

I'll say. As reported by Sack (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Jack Coleman | July 14, 2011 | 7:18 PM EDT

A former gridiron star really ought to know better than to spike the ball in the wrong end zone.

Appearing more subdued than he had on "The Ed Show" just 24 hours earlier, MSNBC action hero Ed Schultz last night admitted making an embarrassing error about News Corporation, parent company of Schultz nemesis Fox News Channel.

On "The Ed Show" July 12, Schultz claimed he knew why Fox pundits such as Bill O'Reilly oppose President Obama's call for higher taxes on the wealthy (video after page break) --

By Matthew Balan | July 14, 2011 | 7:06 PM EDT

On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Dean Reynolds highlighted sob stories surrounding the current shutdown of the Minnesota state government, providing a possible template of how the mainstream media would cover a potential federal government shutdown if the debt ceiling issue isn't resolved by August 2.

Before getting to Reynolds's report, substitute anchor Russ Mitchell played a clip from his colleague Scott Pelley's interview of President Obama, where the Democrat stated that "some courage and some tough choices" were needed to resolve the stalemate over the federal budget. Mitchell then used the President's own phrase as he introduced the situation in Minnesota: "They did not make those tough choices in Minnesota. As a result, the state government shut down two weeks ago. Like Washington, it's a budget deadlock between a Democratic chief executive and a Republican-controlled legislature. Dean Reynolds shows us what it looks like when lawmakers can't figure out how to keep a state running."

By Geoffrey Dickens | July 14, 2011 | 6:34 PM EDT

A desperate sounding Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, began his show by handing out the direct line to Congress as he urged his viewers to stand up against the "Tea Party members" and their "stay-at-home blogging cheerleaders."

Matthews warned his audience that these "blogging cheerleaders" and their GOP Representatives were all too willing to "embrace" economic "calamity" to show how "dedicated they were to not raising the debt ceiling."

(video after the jump)

By Nicholas Ballasy | July 14, 2011 | 6:29 PM EDT

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that President Barack Obama has shown a “level of patience” in debt limit negotiations with congressional leaders that does not compare to the biblical figure Job, known as the “Man of Patience.”


By Alex Fitzsimmons | July 14, 2011 | 6:14 PM EDT

It has been widely reported that President Barack Obama walked out of Wednesday night's debt limit meeting, but MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Thursday was in complete denial that the Democratic president, who's merely "exasperated by Republicans playing this dangerous game," would conduct himself in such a way.

During his daily "Clear the Air" segment, Bashir offered mounds of incredulity but not a shred of evidence to contradict numerous reports of Obama abruptly and prematurely terminating the meeting:

Hmm, I'm not so sure about that...The president losing his temper, abruptly, and rudely cutting short the conversation? Running from a room inside the White House? Does that sound the like president that we've gotten to know during the last two and a half years? Or is that the kind of behavior we've now come to expect from Eric Cantor over the last few weeks?

Video follows break

By Tom Blumer | July 14, 2011 | 6:10 PM EDT

Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the State of Minnesota, where the government is shut down but spokesman for the Department of Public Safety Doug Neville is somehow still working, is demanding that MillerCoors pull its products from Gopher State store shelves within days, and identified a number of questions non-inquisitive Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Eric Roper should have asked and didn't.

One of the questions which didn't make my list, which wasn't intended to be comprehensive, is: "How much money is involved?" As seen in the headline, the answer is so trivial that it almost costs more to think about it than to say what it is. The potential embarrassment over this matter may partially explain why Democratic Farm Labor Governor Mark Dayton appears to have sued for peace this morning (covered later in this post). Readers will also have a hard time believing the penny-ante amount over which retailers whose "buyer's cards" have expired will from all appearances be prevented from buying alcoholic beverages for resale.

By Eric Ames | July 14, 2011 | 5:12 PM EDT

Joe Scarborough took Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski to task Thursday over the ongoing debt negotiations. "[Republicans] already have given specifics on the Paul Ryan Medicare plan which was political suicide for a lot of Republicans. They took that hard vote. What hard vote have Democrats made on the debt over the past year? Name one. Name one vote" said Scarborough.