On CNN’s Situation Room today, anchor Wolf Blitzer spoke of the 1995-1996 Federal government shutdown:
BLITZER: Yes, I would be shocked if there were a government shutdown. The Republicans lived through that back in the '90s and it didn't exactly work out well for them. I would be shocked if they went down that road and the president went down that road right now. I'm sure they will work that out.
So how bad was the political fallout for Republicans? That year the GOP nominated the uninspiring Sen. Bob Dole as their presidential nominee. Despite such a lackluster top of the ticket, House losses were only in the single digits. As former Speaker Newt Gingrich has noted “it was the first time in 68 years that Republicans were reelected to a House majority - and the first time that had ever happened with a Democrat winning the presidency.” On the Senate side, the GOP picked up two seats.
Bob Woodward is a legend in modern journalism, especially for fellow liberal reporters. But that all is for naught now that Woodward has committed the cardinal sin of criticizing the White House for an operative's use of what apparently is a fairly common tactic: a harsh bullying of the press in order to demand even more favorable coverage than the Obama-friendly press already lavishes on Team Obama. It centers on Woodward reporting that sequestration was the White House's idea. This morning Matt Lauer, on the Today Show, questioned Woodward's judgement, saying "I'm a little surprised you've gone public with this." Even, the New York Times offered no refuge for Woodward.
He isn’t the only one. Clinton operative and op-ed columnist Lanny Davis has received similar treatment, and veteran White House reporter Ron Fournier at National Journal also reported threatening emails and calls. But in today’s broadcast of Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski decided to give deference to Obama acolyte David Axelrod’s days as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune in order to portray Woodward as going over the line in his reporting on Gene Sperling's harassment:
CNN's White House correspondent asked President Obama on Friday why he couldn't just force Congress to stick around until a deal is reached to prevent the sequester cuts. Obama responded that he wasn't a "dictator."
"To your question 'what could you do?' First of all, couldn't you just have them down here and refuse to let them leave the room until you have a deal?" CNN's Jessica Yellin teed up the President. Apparently for Yellin, "leadership" means taking dictatorial measures to have an elected Congress pass a bill. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
It’s certainly clear to Jay Leno that the Obama administration is fearmongering the budget sequester.
On NBC’s Tonight Show Thursday, Leno played a mock White House ad claiming among other things that if sequestration occurs, “Girl Scouts will be forced to sell meth" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
With the sequester looming, the impending budget cuts have got the left screaming the end of the world is just around the corner. In a blog published on Feb. 27, co-founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief Henry Blodget predicted that our economy was “crappy” because of cutting back government spending. He also posed that this was the problem with European countries like Greece and England.
The problem, according to Blodget is that “we reduce economic growth” which then will “put more people out of work” when there are government spending cuts. Oddly absent from this article was any mention of how increased taxes affect businesses and consumer spending.
"We have two kinds of people in Washington in the press, we have the reporters and the repeaters," NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham told Fox News's Neil Cavuto on Thursday's edition of his Your World program. "We've had the repeaters all week of panic, you know, big scoops of sequester panic ripple" from the media who were busy parroting fallacious Obama administration talking points. [watch the segment below the page break]
"Part of the problem with this whole thing is" that the liberal media have been "instructed to go out and build panic, and they're very willing to go and do that" for the Obama administration, the Media Research Center director of media analysis added. "Our news media is so statist that they always think that the withdrawal of government from anything is a disaster" while they:
David Axelrod has written Gene Sperling off as a political lightweight lacking the tonnage to have intimidated Bob Woodward in their dust-up over the sequester.
Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Axelrod sarcastically asked "what is Gene Sperling going to do to Bob Woodward? Bob Woodward, who faced down H.R. Haldeman as a young man, feels intimidated by Gene Sperling?" You really have to hear the sneer in Axelrod's voice as he pronounces the name "Gene Sperling" to appreciate just how far under the bus Axelrod was willing to throw a fellow member of Team Obama. View the video after the jump.
Thursday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to zero in on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's false assertion about the sequester – that "there are, literally, teachers now who are getting pink slips; who are getting notices they can't come back this fall". Correspondent Bill Plante noted that "Duncan conceded he knew of only one county nationwide where there had been notices", and underlined that "those notices weren't sequester-related."
CBS News political director John Dickerson also highlighted that "the Washington Post caught...Duncan in an exaggeration about those effects." Actually, "exaggeration" is an understatement on the part of Dickerson, as the Post's Glenn Kessler ripped the Cabinet official over several statements he's made on the sequester issue:
Hold the presses! The far-left blog Daily Kos is insisting that liberal reporter Bob Woodard, in doing his job as a journalist, has gone “full Breitbart” with his coverage of sequestration. Just a few short years ago, the Kossacks loved when reporters "spoke truth to power" in confronting Republicans in the White House. But now that Woodward has gone on record saying that he received threatening emails from senior Obama administration officials, well, that's a far different story.
On the February 27 broadcast of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Woodward said:
How do you go from being a gutsy hero of the MSM to a wuss in one minute? Take on a Democrat president instead of a Republican. Using her most sarcastic scared-little-child voice, on today's Morning Joe Mika Brzezinski mocked Bob Woodward for saying the White House threatened him over his reporting on the sequester.
Mocked Mika: "is he really afraid of a little aide who said that to him? Really?" View the video after the jump.
On Saturday, Washington Post reporters Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane fretted, with the help of several leftists they quoted, that sequestration might not cause enough pain. Given that the so-called "cuts" under discussion are really "reductions in projected spending growth," that is a legitimate fear if your perspective is that government shouldn't ever shrink under any circumstances.
Rush Limbaugh was correct on Tuesday when he noted that the Post let the "sky is falling" mask slip in it report. Several paragraphs, followed by a bit of Rush's reaction, follow the jump.
On Monday, the Insitute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability (IIFS), an outfit associated with the Civic Federation, a "nonpartisan" organization which appears to have leftist instincts and funding, warned that the state government's $8 billion stack of unpaid bills will grow to $22 billion in five years. IIFS correctly blames out of control pension costs, and recommends several reforms which don't seem to match the urgency of the situation.
One thing the report doesn't do, concerning which the press appears to be completely incurious, is estimate how long it will take vendors in President Barack Obama's Democrat-dominated home state to get paid if the backlog of unpaid bills really becomes that large. The answer, in brief, is: "so long that no one with a brain will want to do business with the state, likely causing its government to completely collapse."
The Morning Joe panel was tough today on the Obama White House for threatening Bob Woodward by telling him he would "regret" his reporting that it was the Obama administration that had devised the sequester, In the course of the opening segment, various panel members described the Obama White House response as "mickey mouse," "pathetic" and "childish."
But at the same time, a theme emerged that there was nothing unusual about a White House trying to intimidate reporters. Mark Halperin said "the Bush White House regularly would engage in the same kind of tactics." And Joe Scarborough and Andrea Mitchell shared stories of having been threatened by the Bush and Reagan White Houses, respectively. Andrea named names. Scarborough did not. H/t readers Ray R. and cobokat. View the video after the jump.
I presume everyone remembers how when the New York Times published information about a classified program designed to track the movement of alleged terrorist funding through the international banking system Bush administration officials threatened to prosecute Times reporters and management over what they had done? No you don't, because although some conservatives and Republicans thought it might be a worth considering it didn't happen. You can guarantee that if it had, it would have become a TV-radio-newspaper-Internet establishment press obsession for days on end.
Tonight, Washington Post's Bob Woodward alleged that because he is sticking to his guns in insisting that sequestration was the brainchild of the Obama White House, that it was personally approved by Obama, and that bringing up tax increases now to try to resolve the current sequestration impasse is "moving the goalposts," he has been threatened by "a very senior person" in the White House. Woodward said so on CNN's Situation Room earlier today. What's even more troubling is that Woodward told two Politico reporters the same thing yesterday, and that they appear to have sat on the revelation until this evening when the CNN interview forced their hand. Relevant portions of the CNN transcript and Politico column follow the jump.
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward continues to break ranks with his Obama-loving colleagues by holding the President's feet to the fire concerning the looming budget sequester.
Just days after he wrote a piece in the Post exposing the inconvenient truth that it was indeed the White House that initially proposed sequestration during the 2011 debt ceiling debate, Woodward appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday saying that Obama's decision to not send the USS Truman to the Persian Gulf as a result of these deliberations was "a kind of madness that I haven't seen in a long time" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The rogue collection of bureaucrats known as the Environmental Protection Agency continues its lawless ways. The establishment press continues to serve as enablers.
In January, a federal court vacated the EPA's regulations mandating the use of cellulosic biofuels which weren't produced at all until last year, and barely exist now. In response, the agency, directly defying the court, increased the production requirement of these fuels for 2013. In covering the story, as I noted at NewsBusters on January 31, the Associated Press's Matt Daly only wrote that "An oil industry representative said the Obama administration was thumbing its nose at a ruling last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia" -- as if the agency's action was only a matter of some eeeevil oil guy's opinion.
The Washington Post has been around for more than 150 years and is the largest newspaper in the nation's capital. So there's absolutely no excuse why the paper recently commissioned and published a poll related to the looming sequester which failed to account for the Democrats controlling the upper chamber, even though Republicans were noted as controlling the House.
Terry Jeffrey, the editor-in-chief of our sister site CNSNews.com appeared on Monday's edition of the Daily Rundown program on MSNBC. It's safe to say Terry was the only conservative on the set, with anchor Chuck Todd, USA Today's Susan Page, and MSNBC contributor -- and NARAL Pro-Choice America board member -- Karen Finney founding out the panel.
Issues discussing included the March 1 sequestration deadline and possible contenders for the 2016 presidential race. On the sequester, Jeffrey noted that this all began in August 2011 and that the president's thinking was "I'll gladly increase the debt now for some spending cuts tomorrow" but that "as of this day, Wimpy hasn't cut spending!" You can watch the panel segment below the page break:
On Sunday's Reliable Sources, guest David Zurawik mocked "out of town reporters" who met with the White House about sequestration and simply repeated the administration's talking points back to their local channels, "like an Obama commercial."
However, CNN displayed that same uncritical journalism over and over on the sequester. Obama administration officials freaked out about looming budget cuts to their respective agencies and CNN simply relayed the hype to its viewers, comparing the cuts to the asteroid and calling them a "man-made disaster." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell stayed true to form in conducting a tag team-style, confrontational interview of a conservative/Republican, this time House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. The anchors pressed Rep. Rodgers about a recent Pew Research/Washington Post poll that, in their words, indicates "the public is going to blame Republicans" for the sequester.
At one point in the segment, Rose wouldn't let the Washington representative complete an answer, interrupting her twice in the course of just 20 seconds. On the second occasion, he raised the poll, which found that 45 percent point the finger at congressional Republicans for the impending across-the-board spending cuts:
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama proposed raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour. That would be almost a 25 percent increase. Let's look at the president's proposal, but before doing so, let's ask some other economic questions.
Are people responsive to changes in price? For example, if the price of cars rose by 25 percent, would people purchase as many cars? Supposing housing prices rose by 25 percent, what would happen to sales? Those are big-ticket items, but what about smaller-priced items? If a supermarket raised its prices by 25 percent, would people purchase as much? It's not rocket science to conclude that when prices rise, people adjust their behavior by purchasing less.
Doing the kind of reporting the establishment press would be doing if it were something other than the collection of presidential supplicants it has become, an Investor's Business Daily editorial Monday evening completely refuted outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's claim that a $600 million "cut" (really "a reduction in projected spending") would hurt the Federal Aviation Administration so badly that flight delays would be an inevitable result. One suspects that similar analyses of other agencies would also reveal that the fears expressed by "President Armageddon" (the Wall Street Journal's recent nickname for President Obama) have little if any basis in fact -- if one bravely assumes that the administration isn't hell-bent on inflicting the maximum amount of visible pain if sequestration indeed comes to pass.
As I've said often, there's far more of what really amounts to legitimate fact-based reporting (as opposed to White House stenography) in IBD and Wall Street Journal editorials than you'll find in most of the establishment press's so-called "straight news reporting" on the same topics. As far as the FAA is concerned, IBD shows that all the agency would have to do is redeploy its existing resources -- something which obviously should have been done long ago -- and should ultimately privatize the entire operation, as Canada has successfully done (bolds are mine):
Al Sharpton joined the sequester scare-mongering squad on his MSNBC show this evening. Just one problem: the Reverend Al got one of his "facts" embarrassingly wrong. Sharpton claimed that the effect of the sequester would be to close Rep. Paul Ryan's hometown airport in Janesville, Wisconsin. Nuh-uh.
Yes, Southern Wisconsin Regional in Janesville is on a list of 200 airports, 100 of which would have their towers closed under the sequester. So for starters, contrary to what Sharpton suggests, the odds are only 1-in-2 that even if the sequester hits, there will be any effect whatsoever on the Janesville airport. But in any case, closing a tower by no means closes an airport. Is Al unaware that of the roughly 20,000 airports in the USA, only about 500—less than 3%—have towers? Even if the tower closes, flights will continue to flow in and out of Janesville. There are well-established FAA procedures that pilots follow to communicate with each other at non-towered fields. Shame on Sharpton for his false scare-mongering. View the video after the jump.
Faux conservative David Brooks of the New York Times used his Friday appearance with Mark Shields on the PBS NewsHour to bash Republicans over sequestration, comparing GOP tactics in dealing with spending to a trite circus act. Either Mr. Brooks forgot that sequestration was the president’s idea or doesn't care about facts getting in the way of cozying up to his liberal media buddies. Even liberal Democratic Sen. Max Baucus (Montana) admitted to that, and it’s explicitly mentioned that sequestration was the White House’s idea in Bob Woodward’s new book about the 2011 debt ceiling fiasco.
Shields piggybacked off of Brooks’ remarks, and said that the GOP’s fallback position is blaming the president, as if Obama is blameless in this dismal situation.
ABC on Sunday continued to hype Barack Obama's hyperbolic claims about sequester cuts. World News reporter David Kerley played a clip of the President and then insisted that $85 billion in spending "sounds like a disaster movie." Kerley warned, "Child care canceled for tens of thousands of kids. Long airport security lines. Flight delays with a shortage of controllers. And military cuts that will leave us 'second rate' according to the Defense Secretary."
Reason Magazine's Nick Gillespie on Monday pointed out: "Widely quoted as $85 billion for spending in fiscal year 2013 (which ends on September 30), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) underscores that just $44 billion of spending reduction are slated for 2013, with the rest coming in later years." That amounts to $44 billion in a 2013 budget of $3.6 trillion. Kerley allowed two sentences acknowledging that the cuts "will be phased in over the next seven months."
Charlie Rose led Monday's CBS This Morning by hyping the allegedly catastrophic effect of the sequester during a promo for a report from correspondent Major Garrett: "Kids without vaccines; schools without teachers; and massive airport delays – we'll show you the worst-case scenario for government spending cuts."
Garrett himself could have been mistaken for an Obama administration flack as he devoted much of the segment to publicizing the White House's bombast about the impending $85 billion in spending cuts. He uncritically forwarded the administration's hype about the general and local effect of the cuts, which are set to take effect on March 1:
"For those scraping by on minimum wage, an increase sounds good." That was the Einstein-brilliant headline for the February 25 Metro section article by Washington Post staff writer Michael Laris, which looked at how a "Young Pr[ince] George's [County] father finds little money left to advance dreams."
Laris's 44-paragraph story began with the plight of 24-year-old father Tyrrell Brown, who "makes minimum wage as a cashier at the Family Dollar in Forest Heights," Maryland, a town just outside the District of Columbia. "[E]ven with the job, the income of his girlfriend, Janise Creek, and support from their parents, they can't afford to get their own apartment with their daughter Jayla," Laris noted, quoting Brown in the next paragraph complaining, "Who can live off this little bit of money every week?"
The first is that it will cost a lot of money, totaling an amount which appears to have a chance to come within striking distance of about half of the annual profits in the entire commercial baking industry. The second is that there is little if any evidence supporting DOL's finding that imports have seriously harmed the industry. Excerpts from that editorial (do read the whole blood-boiling thing), followed by a bit of analysis by yours truly, follow the jump.