On Thursday evening, former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner appeared on the PBS NewsHour to discuss his new memoir. Not only did the taxpayer-subsidized anchor Gwen Ifill gently press Geithner from the left on policy matters, she failed to ask him about one of his most startling admissions – that Obama administration officials wanted him to lie during appearances on the Sunday morning TV talk shows.
It's not for a lack of air time either. Ifill gave a two-minute introduction, followed by a 10-minute interview, yet she never got around to this revelation from Geithner’s book Stress Test:
In a Friday morning dispatch which comes off more as a set of election instructions from "Democratic strategists" than as a real news report, David Espo at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wanted to make sure that political operatives who don't read boring pollster reports still get the message: Don't use the word "recovery" during your fall campaign.
In the course of his missive, Espo falsely claimed that economic growth since the recession officially ended has continued unbroken, and failed to remind his audience that the party has trotted out "recovery" themes several times, only to see historically weak economic and employment results each time. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
MSNBC contributor Jared Bernstein pulled off a deft sleight-of-hand on Tuesday’s PoliticsNation. It started after host Al Sharpton played a clip of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) calling for fiscal responsibility: “If Washington is serious about helping working families or serious about getting families out of work back to work, then it needs to get serious about our national debt. How do we do it? First we stop spending money we don't have.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Bernstein, formerly Vice President Joe Biden’s chief economist, blasted Ryan for being “wrong on the numbers” (even though Ryan didn’t cite any numbers in the clip). He claimed:
Monday afternoon at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Andrew Taylor predictably described the House's passage of the Ryan Budget in shrill terms (in order of appearance): "A slashing budget blueprint"; "Sweeping budget cuts"; balances the budget "at the expense of poor people and seniors"; "sharp cuts to domestic programs"; "staking out a hard line for the future"; and "tough cuts." Naturally, he failed to disclose that the Ryan budget increases the federal government's total outlays in each and every fiscal year from 2015 to 2024, with the final projected year coming in at $4.995 trillion, or 42 percent above the $3.523 trillion in spending the Congressional Budget Office predicted yesterday for fiscal 2014.
In the process of performing the AP's usual hatchet job, Taylor let loose with a howler about the federal government's ability to continue on its current financial path. The AP reporter may also have inadvertently let something slip into his narrative about the viability of a cherished government program, something which is a deep, dark secret to most Americans, but is quite well-known to those who watch things more closely:
On Thursday, Christopher Rugaber's assignment at the Associated Press was to cover that day's release of Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement for March.
If the AP economics writer had limited the scope of his coverage to the statement itself, his coverage would have been passed muster. But, as he and his AP colleagues so often do, Rugaber felt it was duty to offer what he must have thought was helpful analysis. He wrote that March's reported $37 billion deficit, an admitted significant improvement over the March 2013 result, even after adjusting for timing differences in end-of-month receipts and outlays, was "the latest sign of improvement in the nation's finances." The last time I checked, running significantly in the red is not an improvement. It really signifies less rapid deterioration, especially since fiscal 2014 in full is still expected to end with deficit of over $500 billion.
MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell on Friday openly plotted strategy with a senior Democratic adviser, complimenting him on successful efforts to convince Americans think that raising the debt ceiling wasn't "running up the credit card." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Mitchell talked to Doug Hattaway, a member of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. She praised, "You were one of the advisors to persuade the Democrats that for this round of the debt ceiling debate they had to re-frame it so that it wasn't the Democrats wanting to spend more money." Mitchell unselfconsciously continued, "As hard as many of us in the media tried to persuade people, this is money that's already been spent, we're just paying the bills."
Washington Post reporter Zachary Goldfarb caused spit takes in Washington on Friday morning. At the top left of the paper, the headline is "Obama budget to rebuff austerity." Or, as Goldfarb described the new White House budget document, "Obama will call for an an end to the era of austerity that has dogged his presidency..."
Is there nobody at the Post who can properly understand that the largest deficits in American history have occurred in the past five years? This was quickly mocked on Twitter:
Now for a dose of MSNBC-style conservatism from Nicolle Wallace, a frequent network contributor and former White House communications director under George W. Bush. On Tuesday’s Morning Joe, Wallace trashed Tea Party members and other conservative Republicans as children while praising House Speaker John Boehner and his moderate ilk as the “grown-ups” of the party. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
During a discussion about Republicans gearing up for the midterm elections, Wallace praised Boehner for caving in on the debt ceiling earlier this month:
There was some huffing at the Huffington Post on Wednesday over House Republicans’ reluctance to pass a clean debt limit increase. Contributing writer Mitchell Bard was glad that the increase was passed, but he was incensed that the vast majority of GOP congressmen (201 of 229) voted against it. He took out his frustrations in a post titled, “Lesson From the House Debt Ceiling Vote: The GOP Is the Tea Party.”
Bard railed against those 201 Republicans: “Voting against the debt ceiling isn't ‘conservative’; it's reckless, ideological, irresponsible and not something anyone charged with governing the nation should consider.” Following that logic, Barack Obama was reckless, ideological, and irresponsible in 2006 when, as a senator, he voted against a debt limit increase.
Dana Milbank of The Washington Post was one of the many liberals in the media who were elated that House Republicans caved in to President Obama’s demand to increase the debt limit with no offsetting spending cuts or concessions on ObamaCare. Milbank was so gleeful, in fact, that he brought a blueberry pie onto the set of Tuesday’s PoliticsNation on MSNBC to celebrate with host Al Sharpton. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
But Milbank warned the reverend not to get too excited, explaining:
At the top of MSNBC's Daily Rundown on Wednesday, host and NBC political director Chuck Todd triumphantly declared: "What a difference a shutdown makes. Picking their poison, Republican leaders retreat on the debt limit, handing President Obama a victory....Are we done with the days of the debt ceiling being wielded as a political weapon?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Minutes later, Todd rhetorically wondered: "Does this mean the budget wars are over, or are we in at least a cease-fire, and who won?" He concluded: "...the President stuck to his guns on this. He stood firm and forced this scenario, making it much more difficult for Republicans to use the debt ceiling as a political weapon."
All three network morning shows on Wednesday cheered House Republicans giving up on trying to attach conditions to raising the nation's borrowing limit. On NBC's Today, news reader Natalie Morales proclaimed: "America is one step closer to being able to pay its bills next month." None of the coverage acknowledged that the move actually meant adding to the nation's massive $17 trillion debt without making any effort to reduce government spending. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos touted "some good news coming out of Washington" as the "debt limit finally passed without real controversy." White House correspondent Jon Karl gushed: "Yeah, this was a really big deal. Republicans completely backed down on this. No strings attached, did exactly what President Obama asked them to do..." Stephanopoulos added: "First time in three years."
One thing the establishment press will not be celebrating this evening as we head into 2014 is the fact that they have been unable to convince the American people that the economy has been and will continue to be on the rebound.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released on Friday, which "oddly enough" (no, not really) is not being touted at ORC's related press release web page, shows that 68 percent of Americans believe the economy is in poor shape. Over half expect the economy to be in that condition a year from now. This came as somewhat of a surprise to Lucy McCalmont at the Politico and Gregory Wallace at CNNMoney.com.
Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose predictably conducted a hostile interview of Senator Marco Rubio on Friday's CBS This Morning, badgering the Republican for his opposition to a budget proposal from Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray. O'Donnell hinted that he was in the pocket of conservative special interest: "I want to ask you about the criticism that you may be more beholden to these conservative groups than to your own party."
The anchor later wondered if "these groups have too much power". Rose himself carried water for the supporters of the proposal: "Speaker Boehner has said, and others have said, is that it's going – it's the first step in the right direction, and you've got to find common ground and you've got to find compromise – otherwise, you'll have government shutdowns, which everybody loses." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made some rather ominous economic observations Sunday.
Appearing on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Greenspan said, “[T]he level of uncertainty about the very long-term future is far greater than at any time I particularly remember.” He blamed it on “government intervention [that] has been so horrendous that businesses cannot basically decide what to do about the future” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft boosted the agenda of Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-identified socialist, by granting him 30 seconds of air time to attack billionaire Pete Peterson, who was featured on the November 17, 2013 edition of the news program. However, this half-minute block was 2.5 times the amount that Peterson got during Charlie Rose's report [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Rose merely played a 12-second soundbite of Peterson during the segment, and mentioned the former Nixon Cabinet official's involvement with a group of philanthropists, who are donating at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity:
On MSNBC's PoliticsNation show, host Al Sharpton criticized Sarah Palin for rhetorically comparing being in debt to another country to "slavery," as he and his panel suggested that it sounds "racist."
But last year, Sharpton was far more tolerant of Vice President Joe Biden telling black audience members that Mitt Romney would put them "back in chains" as he complained about Romney wanting to "unchain Wall Street."
Sharpton and syndicated columnist Cynthia Tucker also incorrectly claimed that the national debt has been reduced when it is merely the amount of borrowing per year that has started decreasing.
Norah "we shouldn't editorialize" O'Donnell boosted President Obama mere seconds after the liberal politician finished his Thursday presser about the end of the partial government shutdown. The CBS anchor claimed that Obama was trying to "be, sort of, the grown-up in the room, and to look forward and say, here are the three ways we can now work together. "
O'Donnell later asserted that the President had gone back to his semblance of a bipartisanism in his lecture-like address: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
After a debt ceiling deal was struck Wednesday in Washington, famed sitcom producer Norman Lear published an article at the Huffington Post wherein he expressed faux concern that conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh had exploded as a result.
Fox News host Stuart Varney embarrassed Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, using archived video to expose the congressman’s hypocrisy on the debt limit. Rangel supported raising the debt limit before today’s deadline, of course, but back in 2004, with Republican George W. Bush in the White House, he sang a different tune.
Varney, filling in for Cavuto, set Rangel up by asking him why he wanted to borrow so much money now. Rangel ignored the question, instead expressing his glee at the deal the Senate had reached. He exclaimed, “[W]e have kicked the can down the road and I'm happy.” Varney then made his play: [Watch the video below the break.]
It’s no secret that the liberal media sympathize with the Democrats’ position on the current government shutdown (and on most policy matters, really). Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown underscored that point on Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour when she spun the failure of a House bill as a net positive because it was what Democrats were hoping for.
Brown was making a guest appearance on the NewsHour to report on the latest developments in negotiations to end the shutdown. She announced that the latest House GOP bill was collapsing due to a lack of support in that chamber. Brown then gave her two cents on the matter: [See video below the break.]
Amidst all the blather about Republicans going over the cliff and taking the world with them, a tantalizing bit of truth broke through on today's Morning Joe. Doomsaying notwithstanding, the GOP is actually positioned to do OK in 2014.
Making the comment particularly surprising was its source: none other than Barack Obama's former senior adviser himself—David Axelrod. View the video after the jump.
I'm really getting sick and tired of conservatives being accused of racism by liberal media members all because they don't agree with Barack Obama's policies.
On Tuesday, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Cynthia Tucker actually tweeted, "I knew some whites would have difficulty w/ a browner America but didn't know they'd wanna destroy the country over it":
Monday's CBS Evening News unsurprisingly ginned up the ideological struggle inside the Republican Party as it covered the ongoing partial government shutdown. Chip Reid spun the face-off inside the House Republican caucus as being between "staunch" Tea Party-aligned representatives inside the House and "mainstream" Republicans.
Reid later played up how House Speaker John Boehner could "face a dilemma" if the Senate came up with a compromise to end the shutdown, and that Boehner "can either allow the House to vote, which will likely split the Republican Party in two and create a major backlash from the Tea Party; or...he can refuse to allow a vote, which could lead to default." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Does Candy Crowley work for CNN or the Democratic Party?
It was tough to tell Sunday when after the State of the Union host asked guest Rand Paul (R-Ky.) if recent polling indicated the beginning of the end of the Republican Party, she actually asked him if he’d ever consider becoming a Democrat (video follows with transcript and commentary):