During Friday’s broadcasts of the PBS's NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered, liberals continued with their narrative about the fiscal cliff, and how it’s not all that bad. Previously, Mark Shields and E.J. Dionne agreed with New York Times-style Republican David Brooks that they would go off the cliff. The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne equated it with the “will of the people.”
But now, the Post’s Ruth Marcus and E.J. Dionne insist that the cliff isn’t a cliff. It’s actually a well-defined “slope." But in the words of Joe Biden, “this is a big f***ing deal.”
Schlockumentary filmmaker Michael Moore had some straight talk for Barack Obama Monday.
In a letter to the President published at the perilously liberal Huffington Post, Moore advised Obama to "DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF" while putting an end to "the s***ting on the poor."
On November 14, the Hill reported that "Senate Democrats, feeling confident from their net gain of two seats in last week’s election, say any deficit-reduction package negotiated in the coming weeks must include stimulus measures." Alexander Bolton's writeup quoted Senator Chuck Schumer publicly asserting that "We have to do something because the economy is not growing fast enough in the first year or two." Although Schumer was referring to 2013 and 2014, the "not growing fast enough" characterization fits the U.S. economy under President Barack Obama's and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's "stimulus"-oriented policies ever since the recession officially ended in June 2009.
The fact that Democrats insist on more so-called "pump-priming" after four years of trillion dollar-plus deficits accompanied by tepid growth, thereby increasing the chances that the deficit streak will hit five years or more, even with tax hikes, while growth remains anemic, is something one might consider to be, well, news. But apparently not at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, or the Politico.
Two ABC News stars have proven, once again, the media’s obsession with raising taxes over any effort to cut a cent of spending. Two days after the election, anchor Diane Sawyer repeatedly pushed House Speaker John Boehner to move away from a conservative position and agree to President Obama’s wish to hike income tax rates, but on Sunday’s This Week, Martha Raddatz refused to press House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about getting Democrats to shift from their position and accede to any reduced spending.
Instead, she quizzed Pelosi about getting Republicans to accept a tax hike and how to get around such intransigence: “Have you seen any indication that the Republicans are open to raising rates?”
Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how several reports from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press (here, here, and here) buried the major news about President Obama's opening demand to Congress over resolving the "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes scheduled to take effect on January 1. His demand for $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years is twice what he sought during the August 2011 debt-ceiling negotiations. You have to go to middle or near-ending paragraphs to get that from the three AP reports linked above.
Those three reports also each contain an additional paragraph which allows the administration's misstatement of its alleged "balance" between tax increases and reductions in projected levels of spending (falsely characterized as "cuts") to stand unchallenged:
When it comes to reporting on the what the White House wants to achieve in talks with Congress about averting the "fiscal cliff," one apparent theme at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has been "Bury the lede about the size of Obama's tax increases." I'll cover another theme ("Let them get away with misstating the 'balanced approach'") in a later post.
President Obama now wants $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years, which is double the amount he sought during last year's debt-limit standoff. In ordinary times with a responsible press corps, such a massive change in posture would be headline-driving material, but not at AP, which appears to be doing its utmost to ensure that most Americans don't know about it while still being able to claim (sort of) that "Well, we told 'em."
Well, there's one little bit of good news in Martin Crutsinger's final report on yesterday's release of the federal government's October Monthly Treasury Statement (I did a review of his initial take yesterday [at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog]). The good news is that Crutsinger, unlike in most months during the past several years I have reviewed such reports, actually identified the single-month amount of money the federal government spent in October, namely $304 billion. We'll see if he continues the practice of reporting single-month spending amounts in future months.
The rest of Crutsinger's coverage is typically pathetic and predictable. He failed to correctly define what the deficit really is for his readers, understated the impact on fiscal 2013 of any tax or spending decisions the President and Congress might agree on, ignored the likelihood that receipts in teh coming year are likely coming back to levels last seen in fiscal 2007 (meaning that virtually the entire problem facing the country has to do with spending, not collections), and engaged in the seemingly required exercise of blaming George W. Bush for running deficits (not disclosed as far smaller) and conducting wars Congress agreed to fight before Obama came into office. As I said, typically pathetic and predictable.
Unless today is a total surprise and runs contrary to most of what we've seen during the past four years, President Obama will go through another "news conference" without a great deal of difficult or aggressive questioning from the assembled press corps.
Carrie Budoff Brown and Josh Gerstein at the Politico seem to think otherwise, and have produced a lame list of seven questions they think Obama will be asked -- so lame that one of them has to do with recently passed marijuana-legalizing initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado:
Oh, now they tell us. As Republicans lick their political wounds, Democrats bask in the glory of winning what was suppose to be a highly contested election, and Washington is abuzz about the looming fiscal cliff which will plunge millions of Americans into higher taxes, The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman wrote today that liberals are now seeing some of Romney’s economic agenda as beneficial to the American middle class. You know, the people ‘Rich Mitt’ wanted to destroy.
Now that the partisan posturing can be tamped down a bit in the wake of the election, some Democrats and their boosters in the media are starting to see Republican policies as plausible avenues to help the American people.
The government's October 2012 Monthly Treasury Statement was released at 2 p.m. It tells us that the government took in $184 billion ($21 billion more than last year) while spending $304 billion ($43 billion more), leaving a $120 billion deficit. That's 22% higher than the October 2011 shortfall of $98.5 billion.
The early report from the Associated Press's Martin Crustinger predictably tells us that discussions over changing this ongoing situation and addressing the "fiscal cliff" involve how "to prevent tax increases and deep spending cuts from kicking in Jan. 1." "Deep"? October 2012 spending annualizes out to $3.65 trillion, which if continued, as seen in comparison to figures for the past five years which follow, would be an all-time record.
Consider it a grim, hidden, unreported milestone, and yet another media failure.
The grim milestone relates to the increase in food stamp enrollment during the Obama administration. As Dave Gibson at Examiner.com noted on Saturday, the administration and campaign (as if there was any difference) did not release program participation data for August until three days after the election, roughly ten days after such monthly reports have typically been issued. What the data demonstrated is that food stamp enrollment during the first 43 months of the Obama administration has increased by more than it did during the entire eight years of George W. Bush's presidency, officially earning Obama the title of "Food Stamp President."
Sounding more like a Democratic strategist on Sunday's Meet the Press than NBC's political director, Chuck Todd urged President Obama to force congressional Republicans into a corner on the fiscal cliff: "...go do it with 65-70 members of the Senate, cut the deal, bring it over to the House....box Boehner in....did the President learn anything from his first term about how to deal with congressional Republicans? Which is don't do it through the leadership."
Moments later, liberal pundit and historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin described how Obama could "build his mandate": "...he has to mobilize that base. That base was energized on election nigh....It's there to bring pressure on obstructionists if they don't get a deal done from the outside in....The Tea Party pressured everybody that summer, why can't his coalition, which is bigger, pressure people from the outside in?"
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward on The Chris Matthews Show Sunday not only called Democrat visions of balancing the budget by raising taxes on the rich a "fantasy," but he also said "there is a way to...raise more revenue and perhaps lower the rates" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft tried to paper over Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's role in fostering deadlock in the Senate. Kroft spotlighted Reid's "responsibility" for setting the body's agenda, but quickly added that the Nevada senator has "just as much of a responsibility as Senator McConnell - to make the system work and to do some things."
The correspondent also turned to Steven Smith, who hinted that the Republican minority in the Senate was to blame for the "deadlock" in Congress, despite Reid's Democratic majority not passing a budget in over 3 years: "If you're in the minority...you know that if you can slow down everything, the majority will have less time to get to its entire agenda....when the minority blocks a piece of legislation, who does the public blame? Is it the minority for its obstructionism, or is it the majority that just wasn't willing to compromise enough?" He failed to mention that Smith is a former fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution.
The ignorance and blind sycophancy of Bill Maher knows no bounds.
On HBO's Real Time Friday, the man who proudly gave a million dollars to Barack Obama's Super PAC said on national television, "Who cares what somebody in his administration wrote down on a piece of paper and predicted?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Reporting for Thursday's NBC Rock Center, chief foreign affairs correspondent Richard Engel ranted over the lack of infrastructure spending to protect against Hurricane Sandy and tried to blame it on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: "...the thing we've spent the most money on, a trillion-plus dollars, the most American lives on, and that has been bringing democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan, with very questionable results." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rather than be in Lybia covering the growing scandal over the Obama administration's botched response to the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Engel sat in the NBC News New York studio and proclaimed: "People I've spoken to, experts in this field, say we would be a lot safer, not just richer, if we had spent a lot of that money on improving infrastructure."
As NewsBusters readers know, one of my guilty pleasures is pointing out the staggering ignorance of Bill Maher.
The object of my disaffection certainly didn't let me down Friday evening when on HBO's Real Time he actually told Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that we spend 42 percent of our total budget on defense (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In their third Presidential debate analysis, the Jurassic Press Media last night and thus far this morning have failed utterly in their role as fact checker and record-corrector - at least when it comes to what President Barack Obama had to say.
As but one glaring example, there were the President’s absurd assertions regarding the auto bailout and China.
Let's get the easy part out of the way first. The New York Times and the Associated Press are only covering the outrages emerging in Solyndra's bankruptcy in the vaguest of terms. The only related Times item I could find was a sentence at the end of an October 11 Green blog post indicating that "the I.R.S. and the Energy Department argue in court papers" against the company's bankruptcy plan. The AP's Randall Chase was a bit more specific that day, writing that "The plan allows for two private equity funds that control Solyndra to potentially reap hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks after Solyndra emerges from bankruptcy, using net operating losses." Beyond that, the details are news only in the business press, and even then not to a great extent.
Are the private equity funds (you mean they're sort of like the eeeevil Bain Capital?) getting hundreds of millions in "tax breaks" as in tax deductions or tax reductions? Unbelievably, it's the latter (the former is almost $1 billion), as an October 15 Wall Street Journal editorial and an October 17 Bloomberg News item which seemed to be simultaneously trying to catch up to but then cover up what the Journal revealed.
While this will almost certainly remain unreported on the broadcast news networks, the Associated Press is reporting that the Democratic National Convention Committee accepted at least $5 million in corporate donations and borrowed another $8 million in order to reach its $36.7 million budgetary goal, according to the financial disclosure reports that were filed with the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 17.
In doing so however, the Democratic Party failed to uphold its pledge to run its convention solely from money raised by individual donors and not corporate cash. "This convention will be different," DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) promised last year.
In my Monday post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) about the "Million Muppet March," the astroturfing Obama-supportive operation being managed by Michael Bellavia -- a gentleman whose animation firm "just so happens" to have Sesame Workshop as a major client -- I questioned how he and the rest of the group can be so sure that they "can just use the Muppet characters ... at a brazenly political event without worrying about consequences."
My take on this morning's "march"-related news is that "march" organizers have quietly been prevented from doing so. That's because they're not calling it the "Million Muppet March" any more. It's now the "Million Puppet March." The remarkably incurious Associated Press, in a brief report this morning (presented in full for fair use and discussion purposes), unskeptically relayed the group's pathetic name-change excuse:
CNN's Anderson Cooper cited the liberal Tax Policy Center debunking Mitt Romney's tax plan on Monday, without noting that one of the authors admitted the plan could still work with different assumptions. He waited until the end of his report to admit that the studies in question were "making assumptions."
"[A] bipartisan panel of three authors for the Tax Policy Center examined the plan and concluded that there's really no way of making the numbers work, that is, unless the middle class pays more," Cooper reported on the night before Tuesday's presidential debate. That is misleading, since the study admitted reliance on "certain assumptions" and one of its authors said the plan could work. The TPC report was released in August.
Martin Bashir is clearly trying to become MSNBC's new Keith Olbermann.
During a discussion with Tamron Hall on News Nation Tuesday, Bashir actually said that if Paul Ryan's budget ever passed, "many Americans would end up in soup kitchens" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
My initial reaction to the story by Daniel Trotta at Reuters about plans for a "Million Muppet March" in Washington on November 3, the Saturday before Election Day, was that the whole thing doesn't seem as wildly spontaneous, grass roots-driven, and coincidental as presented. It turns out that it isn't. As Lee Cary at TeaParty911.com found (HT Newsalert via Ed Driscoll at Instapundit), the guiding force of the enterprise is an animation company executive who "just so happens" to have a lot to gain if the status quo of government funding of the Corporation For Public Broadcasting continues. It's also interesting how he's apparently able to use the Muppet characters in the "march" without worrying about getting anyone's publicly expressed permission to do so.
First, here are several paragraphs from Trotta's tripe (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Criticism of Barack Obama came from a surprising source Sunday.
Appearing on Meet the Press, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw said the President “is going to have to answer for” the explosion in the federal budget deficit that “happened on his watch” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Reviewing the questions posed at Thursday night's vice presidential debate, ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz clearly favored Team Obama. Out of 48 discrete questions and follow-ups, a plurality (19, or 40%) incorporated a pro-Obama/Biden or anti-Romney/Ryan agenda, vs. 25% (12 questions) that skewed in the other direction and 35% (17 questions) that were neutral or purely information-seeking.
Raddatz showed almost no bias in her foreign policy questions, which split down the middle: eight pro-Romney vs. seven pro-Obama (not counting the neutrals). But on domestic issues, especially on the budget and taxes, she practically joined Joe Biden in pounding on Paul Ryan, with a dozen questions that incorporated liberal campaign themes, compared to just four based on a conservative premises, a stark three-to-one liberal tilt.
None of the Big Three broadcast networks noted the release Friday of the Congressional Budget Office’s final determination of the fiscal year 2012 federal budget deficit: $1.1 trillion, the fourth year in a row of trillion-dollar deficits. ABC, CBS and NBC’s Friday evening newscasts and Saturday morning news programs were silent about the statistic — even though Obama’s massive spending and broken 2008 promise of halving the deficit are central issues of this year’s presidential campaign.
A look back shows that the networks were also silent last year, when the deficit came in at $1.299 trillion for fiscal year 2011. In 2010, the networks skipped CBO’s October 7, 2010 report of a $1.3 trillion deficit, but later noted the final number when it was released by the Office of Management and Budget on October 15.