Framing a shortcoming in the debt deal as a liberal would and does, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley on Tuesday night regretted the how “the last time the President and the Congress compromised on a major spending bill, Republicans got tax cuts and Mr. Obama won an extension of unemployment benefits,” but this time “there are only budget cuts and no relief for those suffering in this economy.”
If the economy stagnates or falters in the coming months, it seems a metaphysical certitude Obama-loving media will do everything in their power to blame it on Tuesday's debt ceiling agreement rather than any of the other factors already in play.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews gave us a foreshadowing of such deception on "Hardball" when he blamed Tuesday's stock market collapse on the newly-signed legislation rather than the bad economic data announced in the morning (video follows with transcript and commentary):
You can tell the liberals are really sweating the politics of the debt-limit talks when NBC puts on a special “Dateline NBC” devoted to politics. This is normally a time slot devoted to “news” topics like Casey Anthony or Lindsey Lohan. But last week, viewers were “treated” to anchorman Brian Williams actually covering a real news topic. It’s just too bad he forgot he was supposed to be a reporter, not an editorialist, spinning furiously against conservatives trying to rein in Obama’s incredibly reckless flood of new spending.
The last time Brian Williams showed up in prime time for a splashy special on public policy was an enormous tribute to the new president, Barack Obama -- making a run for hamburgers with him, hailing how he displayed apples everywhere, and bowing to him and wishing him a pleasant evening after NBC chronicled his glorious day of saving America from recession. You know, just like Williams treated Bush.
Chris Matthews doesn't seem to be running out of violent imagery to use in his smears against the Republican Party. On Tuesday, the Hardball host bombarded the GOP, comparing them to "muggers" who assaulted Barack Obama during the debt limit standoff.
Explaining his current metaphor, Matthews slammed, "What we saw, what I saw at least, was one guy with a knife and the other trying to avoid being cut. It was a thug attacking a victim. It was a mugging." He acidly added, "Now, the good news...is that the victim did get through it."
As the debt ceiling “compromise” progressed on August 1, NPR revealed its slant against the bill in interviews with Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
But it was the phrasing of one particular question during Dreier’s interview that prompted more than 20 listener complaints that called it “hostile, “rude” and proof of “liberal bias,” according to the response by NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos. Schumacher-Matos described the question as “a virtual sucker punch.” (Listen to the interview here)
The “leading question” (by NPR’s own admission) Steve Inskeep had asked Dreier was, “Given that your speaker, in his words, said months ago that it would be a serious problem not to raise the debt ceiling, why did House Republicans spend this summer threatening to torpedo the economy by defaulting?”
CBS's Norah O'Donnell played the role of a clairvoyant on Tuesday's Early Show as she hinted that President Obama's reelection is assured in 2012. Anchor Erica Hill asked O'Donnell how the White House viewed the debt ceiling bill. She replied, "I think they feel like this was... not necessarily a victory for the President. He did get an extension of this debt ceiling through 2012 and through his reelection" [video clips available here; audio can be downloaded here].
Hill brought on the new CBS News White House correspondent, as well as Nancy Cordes, their congressional correspondent, to discuss the return of Rep. Gabby Giffords to the floor of the House of Representatives on Monday and their passage of the compromise debt ceiling legislation. Towards the end of the segment, after she and O'Donnell laughed it up about Vice President Biden's crack about Giffords being part of the "cracked heads club," the anchor asked her question about the White House's take on the bill. Her colleague replied with her off-the-cuff prediction:
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Tuesday mourned the "absolutely dreadful" behavior of journalists and politicians who have compared Tea Party Republicans to "terrorists," among other things. But as NewsBusters previously reported, the "Morning Joe" co-host repeatedly ignored such transgressions when they occurred on his own show.
On Morning Joe's coverage of the debt ceiling deal, Joe Scarborough trivialized potential defense cuts by joking that the money is needed to repel extraterrestrial invasion. "I understand why some neocons are very upset because the Martians could invade any time, and so do we need to have a bigger defense budget than every other country on the planet, because when the Martians do come, we want to make sure we that have our radar gun technology ready," said Scarborough.
On Monday, Politico reported that "several sources" in a private meeting of House Democrats confirmed that Vice President Joe Biden accused Tea Party Republicans of having "acted like terrorists." CBS and ABC completely punted the story on their evening and morning newscasts. NBC made mention of the controversy, but only to further Biden's denial of having made the comment.
CBS's omission was particularly stunning given that Evening News anchor Scott Pelley interviewed the Vice President on Monday. Politico noted that Pelley actually did ask about the 'terrorist' remark: "'I did not use the terrorism word,' Biden told CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley." However, Pelley's question and Biden's denial were completely scrubbed from the portion of the interview aired on Monday's Evening News or Tuesday's Early Show.
One of the most striking facts about the course of the Obama presidency so far is that Obama has no constructive solutions for anything, which is one reason he campaigned on vague promises. It's why he established bogus metrics, such as "saved or created jobs."
It's also why he's always pointing the finger of blame on others for his policy failures. Everyone knows by now that Obama's reckless and corrupt stimulus package failed to restrain unemployment as he had promised and that instead of accepting responsibility for it, he blamed Bush.
Apparently, cutting a $3.7 trillion budget by $21 billion will hurt the economy. Talking to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Tuesday, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos worried about the just-agreed to debt deal: "But, don't you think that any deficit reduction now will hurt the attempts of the economy to recover?"
The former Clinton White House official turned journalist highlighted "economists who say cuts like this will make our weak economy weaker and cost Americans jobs." In total, Stephanopoulos raised the question three times, wondering, "So, this won't cost us jobs?"
Republicans and Democrats both seem to have come up short of a debt deal they really like. Many Republicans wanted more cuts, while many Democrats wanted more taxes on the rich. Both sides technically got something good out of the deal, but neither side is satisfied.
One person that might have emerged as a winner, though, is President Obama, who supported a deal that will push any fiscal problems until after the 2012 election. Do you think he emerges victorious from the debt debates? Let us know what you think in the comments.
At the conclusion of a fractious national debate about the debt ceiling, a truly marvelous moment occurred Monday when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) returned to the House floor after being shot in the head almost seven months ago.
Apparently unable to control himself, the sadly getting more and more disgraceful Chris Matthews chose to mar the emotional homecoming by connecting her shooting to the Tea Party and "the violent level of the right-wing" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Two network anchors, 24 hours apart, cued up House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to despair from the left how the debt ceiling deal, presumably because of some future potential slight reductions in the projected rate of spending increases, will “hurt real people” as NBC’s Brian Williams asked her to confirm her “fear” that “the poor are gonna get hurt and the rich are gonna get by without harm.”
On Monday’s World News, ABC’s Diane Sawyer inquired (video below): “You think this is really going to hurt real people?”
Today Tucson congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) cast her first vote since she was critically injured in a January shooting.
You'll recall that in the weeks that followed, the media bemoaned the incivility -- supposedly predominantly conservative in nature -- of the political debate which had allegedly created a climate of hate.
But there appears to to be no firestorm over how, just last week, Arizona Daily Star cartoonist David Fitzsimmons fantasized about President Obama sending a SEAL team to assassinate Tea Party-friendly House Republicans.
An unhinged Chris Matthews on Monday decried the debt ceiling deal negotiated in Congress, attacking Tea Party Republicans as a group of baby-kidnapping terrorists. He also bizarrely described the compromise as "political polygamy."
Talking to Jonathan Chait of the New Republic, Matthews excoriated, "Why did [Obama] let this develop for six months...this drum roll of the Republicans saying, 'We've got the baby. You don't get the baby back unless you pay us?' Why do you let the other side have the baby, to use kidnapping terms?"
On Monday's "Martin Bashir," MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter proclaimed that America would "be in a depression now if there had been a balanced budget amendment in 2009." Bashir, concurring with the former Newsweek editor, added, "Indeed."
Reacting to Rep. John Boehner's (R-Ohio) press conference about the debt-ceiling deal, Alter and Bashir mocked the speaker's suggestion that a balanced budget amendment is needed to "handcuff" Congress.
The cartoon (embedded after the page break) depicts a battle-scarred U.S. Capitol and White House in 1942 outside of which Nazi and Japanese Empire flags fly in lieu of the Stars and Stripes. A speech balloon coming from the Capitol dome reads, "At least we didn't go into debt," while the caption reads "If Congress had passed the Tea Party's Balanced Budget Amendment in 1940."
In a discussion with Meet the Press host David Gregory and Tom Brokaw on Monday's NBC Today about the debt ceiling deal, co-host Ann Curry contemptuously wondered: "...do you think that members of the Tea Party Caucus know how to govern or are they – do they understand that standing up for a cause is not the same as governing?" [Audio available here]
Interestingly, Brokaw rejected Curry's argument: "Well, I don't think that you can separate the two. The fact is that they were elected to pursue the goals that they took before their constituents and said, 'This is what we believe in, this is why we're going to Washington.' And they have changed the tenor of the debate there and the details of it." He further added: "...this has been a big morning for them so far..."
For the past month, as the debt talks slogged on in Washington, the so-called mainstream media unleashed increasingly hysterical attacks on the Tea Party and anti-tax hike conservatives — epitomizing the liberal elite’s supreme annoyance at the push to curb federal spending and contain the size of government.
The media’s disdainful language has ranged from the merely condescending (wondering whether the Tea Partiers in Congress actually knew how things worked, or referring to them as children), to outright hostile (likening the Tea Party to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups). Here are some of the choicer examples MRC has collected over the past 30 days:
Yet Zeleny’s analysis was chock full of the typical liberal bias slant that puffs up President Obama, slams the Tea Party as “intractable” and ignores the partisanship of liberal Senate members, particularly Harry Reid (emphasis mine):
In an interview with White House advisor David Plouffe on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried about liberals being unhappy with the proposal deal on the debt ceiling: "So did the President compromise here, David, or did he give in simply so that he wouldn't be labeled as the president who was on duty as the nation defaulted on its financial obligations?"
Plouffe defended the plan: "Now, listen, you're obviously seeing some criticism from my party, you're seeing some criticism from the Republican Party. But what this does is first of all we get significant deficit reduction..." Lauer continued to hit from the Left: "The President clearly wanted more revenues, he wanted to raise taxes on wealthiest Americans, he wanted to get rid of some tax cuts for corporations. Those are not in there. Is the fight over taxes over and did the President lose it?"
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday hit senior White House advisor David Plouffe from the left, highlighting liberal columnist Paul Krugman's complaints about the debt ceiling deal. The morning show also played up a Democratic congressman's attack that the bill is a "Satan sandwich."
Quoting from the New York Times' Krugman, Stephanopoulos fretted, "Paul Krugman in the New York Times this morning saying that the President 'had an abject surrender. He says that Obama surrendered last December extending all the Bush tax cuts.'"
Late last night, President Obama announced that Democrat and Republican leaders had agreed on a plan with Obama's approval to raise the debt ceiling. The plan would prevent any possible defaults that could occur on August 2 if the deal is not passed in Congress.
The plan is still subject to congressional approval, and many Democrats and Republicans are already speaking out against it. Check out a summary of the deal after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Barney Frank has to be the biggest sourpuss in Congress. The liberal representative from Massachusetts has made an art form out of ripping out his ear piece and abruptly ending an interview. This testy feller could pick a fight in a phone booth.
So Frank would be the last person you'd expect, in commenting on the debt ceiling deal, to break out a classic line from comedian Henny Youngman. Yet that's exactly what Barney did on Morning Joe today, in explaining why he was supporting a bill that contains much he doesn't like.
During a commentary aired on CBS Sunday Morning, supposedly right-leaning actor and economist Ben Stein blamed the "folly of supply side economics" - singling out President George W. Bush’s tax cuts in addition to President Obama’s spending - for the current federal budget deficit. The CBS contributor also complained that some Republicans have an "inflexible belief" that "low taxes were an American birthright."
He also complained that the Tea Partiers "insisted on the basically impossible, an immediate cut in federal spending, large enough to balance the budget without tax increases. In this age of Medicare and Medicaid, two wars, massive federal debt, interest payments, staggering Social Security obligations, that was simply impossible."
George Will and Paul Krugman had another great debate Sunday about the role of government spending in stimulating the economy.
As the New York Times columnist predictably whined about the need for more federal spending not less, ABC's lone conservative said on "This Week," "It would be good to go to the electorate and have a Krugman election this time, saying: resolved, the government is too frugal - let's vote" (video follows with transcript and commentary):