The three nightly news broadcasts on Monday touted Barack Obama new spending as "investments," highlighted victims of White House cuts and ignored key facts about the President's 2012 budget.
Evening News reporter Chip Reid used the preferred White House language, asserting, "But the President unveiled his budget at a technology school to highlight new investments, especially in education and innovation, including funding for 100,000 new math and science teachers, $32 billion for biomedical innovation and a doubling of funding for green energy research."
On ABC, Jake Tapper pointed out that the White House budget adds seven trillion dollars to the debt over the next decade. But, he also found a victim of the White House's planned cuts. Tapper identified University of Colorado Junior Derrick Dash as someone who "pays tuition with help from the Pell Grant program for low income students and he was planning on enrolling in summer classes."
With the unveiling of Obama's 2012 budget today, some newspapers around the country framed the $3.7 trillion proposal as a serious attempt to slash the federal deficit.
The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the Daily Herald, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the DC Express, couched the administration's massive budget as a fiscally responsible plan that makes "deep" and "big" cuts to "rein in deficits."
"Obama budget makes deep cuts, cautious trades," blared the February 15 print edition headline for Washington Post staffer Lori Montgomery's page A1 story on President Obama's 2012 budget plan. "[The] Focus [is]on education, energy and research," a subheadline approvingly added.
In the lead paragraph, Montgomery hailed Obama's spending blueprint as "full of surgical cuts and cautious trade-offs."
By contrast, a Republican plan for the spending blueprint for the rest of 2011 was cast as a "plan with drastic -- and painful -- cuts" in a page A13 headline*.
On Monday, President Obama announced that 2011's budget deficit is going to be an all-time high $1.65 trillion.
In an interview with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly later in the day, ABC's George Stephanopoulos predictably blamed the red ink on former President George W. Bush (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In his lifetime, Princeton economics professor and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has published 20 books, over 200 papers, and since the year 2000 two columns a week at the New York Times.
Clearly without understanding the irony of his question, the man once accused by the Gray Lady's ombudsman of possessing a "disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers" asked his readers Monday, "How can voters be so ill informed [sic]?":
It's going to be a long year for those of us who review Associated Press reports Uncle Sam's finances for evidence of bias and ignorance. Sometimes it seems that it would be easier to highlight the rare examples of fairness and balance.
Take the first sentence of Andrew Taylor's report on President Obama's 2012 budget (please; that goes for his report and the budget). It, in combination with the oh-so-predictable headline, makes you want to stop reading on in disgust (for the purposes of this post, I did endure the whole thing; bold is mine):
Update (12:08 p.m. EST): Brewer just made this her question of the day on her MSNBC Live program.
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer injected a bit of liberal commentary to a link she posted Monday morning on her Facebook page.
"You know it's overfunded when even the Pentagon pushes for spending cuts. Why is defense such a sacred cow?" lamented Brewer in a comment posted above a link to a Wall Street Journal article on Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget blueprint.
I don't know, Contessa, maybe because the primary mission of the federal government is defending the nation from foreign enemies?
Sadly, one could write a term paper identifying and correcting the clever misstatements and obfuscations contained in Martin Crutsinger's Sunday report (since updated; original is still present here) for the Associated Press on the impending submission of the President's 2012 budget by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.
Lacking such space, I'll concentrate on what I believe are the two worst examples, both of which are present in his opening paragraph. Crutsinger significantly misleads about the total spending the administration is proposing for fiscal 2012, and fails to call a tax increase by its proper name, i.e., a tax increase.
On the February 12 World News Saturday, ABC correspondent David Kerley highlighted claims by Bob Greenstein of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy that the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Obama would block Tea Party-backed cuts from this year’s federal budget, thus protecting Republicans from their "less than responsible actions."
After Kerley began his piece by recounting that Tea Party Republicans in the House had pressured House Speaker John Boehner to support a plan cutting $100 billion in planned spending from the current fiscal year's budget, calling the cuts "broad and very deep," the ABC correspondent included a clip of Greenstein asserting that "they’re bigger than people think" without informing viewers of the liberal lean of his organization.
After a second clip of Greenstein in which the former Carter administration member contended that Republicans are "protected from the consequences of their own, I think, less than responsible actions here," Kerley continued: "Protected from the consequences, he says, because the Democratic Senate and the President will not go along."
Civility was in short supply yesterday on "The Dylan Ratigan Show," as the MSNBC anchor after which the show is named used words and phrases such as "moronic" and "dog's ass" to demagogue the GOP's proposal to trim the federal budget.
"How can you be serious about cutting spending when your spending proposals are truly a flea on a dog's ass?" howled Ratigan, who went on to demonize Republicans as "nasty" frauds who want to "get rid of all the food for poor people."
Ratigan's spurious logic that cutting federal subsidies for food stamps is akin to letting poor people starve to death on the streets is reminiscent of Alan Grayon's mischaracterization of the GOP health care plan, which the former Florida congressman said was to "die quickly."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Michelle Miller reported on planned closures of 2,000 U.S. Post Office locations: "...in this age of digital communications, online bill paying, and Federal Express, are physical post offices still relevant?" She seemed to answer her own question: "Folks are not going to let this go down without a fight...It's what makes their community whole."
During her report, Miller explained how the government subsidized organization had "a record deficit this year of $8.5 billion, the Postal Service loses a staggering $23 million a day and is facing a growing number of problems." Even so, she played on the emotions of viewers, interviewing an elderly New Jersey man named Harold Schutzman, who explained: "[I] got a friend there at the desk, Gary. I can't get into the paying by e-mail."
According to Brett J. Blackledge at the Associated Press, when it comes to unspent stimulus money, cue the MC Hammer ("U Can't Touch This") and go away.
In a Friday "analysis" in the wire service's "Spin Meter" category (HT Sweetness & Light), Blackledge, using words which clearly communicate which side he's on, in essence tells those whose goal it is to reduce federal spending to a more sustainable level that they're going to have to go somewhere else to find money that can't be spent.
There are a couple of silver linings in Blackledge's otherwise leaden analysis. First, he admits in his very first sentence that the stimulus program is "politically unpopular." Second, he notes that the government wasn't able to spend the money as quickly as promised in the heady days of February 2009, when passage of the stimulus bill that no one had time to read was supposedly the only thing preventing economic Armageddon:
As NewsBusters previously reported, CNBC's Rick Santelli was very disappointed by Friday's jobs report from the Labor Department showing a surprising decline in the unemployment rate to 9.0 percent.
Disappointing is hardly the word I would use for buried inside the numbers was another huge decline in the size of the American labor force that should have economists and government officials fearing for our ability to ever balance our budget or be able to fund our rising expenditures without issuing more and more debt.
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Situation Summary stated (emphasis added):
On his Wednesday 4PM ET show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan denounced the fact that the recent Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), convened to detail the causes of the 2008 economic collapse, only had a budget of $8 million, while back in 1998, the "Clinton-Lewinsky blowjob investigation" had a $40 million budget. He was apparently referring to special prosecutor Ken Starr investigating perjury charges against the former president.
The report from the FCIC was highly partisan, with the six Democrats on the commission claiming that primary reason for the financial crisis was the lack of government regulation in the private sector. As a result, the four Republican commissioner refused to sign on to the findings and released their own dissenting report.
Last week, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama was adamant about freezing U.S. government domestic spending over the next five years. But why not do the same for U.S. spending abroad?
The president said: "So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. Now, this would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade."
Forget for a moment that I believe we need to cut government spending by at least 10 percent across the board (including in foreign support) and not just freeze it. Can you imagine American homes in which the primary breadwinners lost their jobs freezing their household spending but not doing the same in their financial support of almost every household in their neighborhoods?
In his treatment of the predicted unemployment rate, Taylor betrayed no concern whatsoever about the plight of the millions of unemployed who are in that position largely because the Obama administration attempted to bring about an economic recovery through government "stimulus" and government intervention instead of cutting taxes, or even leaving what appeared to be an incipient recovery in late 2008 continue. Instead, as AP reporters Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti did last September in advance of last year's poverty report from the Census Bureau, when they fretted over the report's impact on the Congressional midterm elections, a terrified Taylor spent two paragraphs worrying about the high unemployment rate's impact on the President's reelection prospects:
To add an exclamation point to Brad Wilmouth's great post last night ("ABC Pushes for Tax Hike on Capital Gains, Ignores Likelihood of Tax Revenue Loss") -- in ignoring the likelihood that raising the capital gains tax rate would reduce capital gains tax collections, the network also "somehow" forgot now-retired World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson's aggressive questioning on the topic during an April 2008 Democratic Party presidential debate.
That night, ABC, represented by Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, who was then the host of ABC's Sunday morning news show, drove leftists crazy (noted at the time in NewsBusters posts here and here), because, as NB's Brent Bozell noted, "For once it veered from liberal orthodoxy."
One of Gibson's "veers" consisted of questions he asked presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton about capital gains taxation. The now-defunct New York Sun characterized it as "Gibson's Finest Hour" (I would suggest that it might really have been "Gibson's Only Fine Hour"), and wrote it up thusly (internal link added by me; bolds are mine):
In the middle of a rather comical exchange on PBS's "Inside Washington" Friday evening, Washington Post columnist Colby King accused fellow panelist Charles Krauthammer of being "cranky" concerning President Obama's State of the Union address.
Not at all surprising to fans of the Fox News contributor, Krauthammer struck back and did so quite impressively (video follows with transcript and commentary):
David Gergen not surprisingly believes that increased federal spending on education - or "investments" as Democrats like to say - is essential irrespective of our nation's current fiscal crisis.
On "Anderson Cooper 360" following the President's State of the Union address, former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer did his darnedest to explain to the CNN senior political analyst that our mammoth budget deficits should first be brought under control before any additional outlays are considered (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"News is about stories," Rachel Maddow intones in this MSNBC "Lean Forward" promo. "It's about finding all the disparate facts and then finding their coherence. Doing this right takes rigor and a devotion to facts that borders on obsessive. ... At the end of the day, though, this is about what's true in the world."
Just as the purpose of this promo is to convince MSNBC viewers and advertisers that Maddow is so nobly inclined, despite a never-ending supply of inconvenient facts to the contrary.
On her show Monday night, for example, Maddow talked about Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin being selected to provide the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union speech and Ryan as author of "A Roadmap for America's Future," his detailed legislative proposal for reducing federal debt, when she said this: [Video and audio clips after page break]
The President that expanded the role, scope, and size of the federal government more than all that came before him or since is unquestionably Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Yet on Tuesday, moments after calling Congresswoman Michele Bachmann a "balloon head," MSNBC's Chris Matthews actually said FDR "bailed out capitalism in the '30s" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
What's with the New York Times and its inability to practice what it preaches when it comes to avoiding gun-filled images and rhetoric? A few days ago I noted how the Times had placed a bullet-riddled ad for a violent video game right on its online op-ed page.
Now comes this Times headline: "Republicans’ Budget Man Draws Fire". That is of course a metaphorical invocation of someone who by his actions invites an enemy to shoot at him. The article's subject was Republican congressman Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and budget hawk who will be giving the GOP response to Pres. Obama's SOTU. To complete the martial metaphor, the article, by Jennifer Steinhauer and David Herszenhorn, also describes Ryan as "the Republican point man" on budget cuts. A point man is of course the soldier at the lead of a patrol, hence most likely to be shot.
Talking to New York Senator Chuck Schumer on Sunday's Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer said of a video statement released by President Obama on Saturday: "If I didn't know better and had my eyes closed I might have thought that was President Reagan talking." Schieffer specifically referred to Obama's call for spending cuts, noting: "It sounded very much like a speech that a Republican would make."
After Schumer promised his party was serious about deficit reduction, Schieffer proceeded to characterize Republican calls for spending cuts in much less flattering light: "Eric Cantor said this morning, under hard questioning I should add, that yes indeed cancer research would also be on the table when you talk about cutting spending. Can you envision cuts in cancer research?"
On the January 23 World News Sunday, ABC News Senior Washington Editor Rick Klein used President Obama’s euphemism for spending as "investments" as he and anchor Dan Harris discussed how Republicans will likely respond to Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. Although the setup piece by correspondent David Kerley did allude to Obama’s word choice to call his plan "cut and invest" as having significance, noting that it "worries Republicans," after the piece had ended, Klein twice used the term "investments" as if it were straight, nonpartisan terminology. Klein:
But when you get down to the policy, the President talking about the targeted new investments, that is going to be such a tough sell in the current environment. Republicans are busy preparing long lists of budget cuts. That's going to be their focus. So, regardless of what the applause looks like on Tuesday night, it's going to be very difficult for the President to get any Republican support for any even very targeted new investments.
Kerley’s report had played a soundbite of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s skeptical response to the term "invest":
Editor's Note: The initial post included an incorrect video embed. The correct video has now been inserted. We apologize for the error.
While mainstream media outlets repeatedly fail to question flawed health care cost estimates, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell exposed the biased coverage on the January 21 "Fox & Friends."
"This proves why they're not the mainstream media," asserted Bozell, referring to journalists such as ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who claimed that since the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is "the only game in town," that makes them the "referees" on all budgetary matters. "If they were the mainstream media they would be reporting the story accurately."
The founder and president of the Media Research Center revealed what Stephanopoulos and other liberal journalists ignored: "All the CBO can do is crunch the numbers they're given. If the numbers they're given are faulty, then the report is going to be faulty. And guess what? When you look at the numbers that were given, they are a joke."
- Since Obama took office, only 16 percent of health care stories mentioning the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) included any criticism of their accounting, despite criticism from many conservative and libertarian experts as well as the former head of CBO.
- Networks reporters and guests emphasized the CBO's integrity calling them "non-partisan," "independent" and the "referee" or "arbiter" of legislation costs. CBS's Nancy Cordes even declared them to be "trusted by both parties as the authority on budget matters."
The new majority in the House of Representatives has made it clear that voting on a full repeal of ObamaCare is its top priority, something a majority of Americans support. But their resolution, H.R. 2, has come under fire from the left and the liberal news media over the deficit.
Democrats, including Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., claimed that House Republicans "are breaking their first promise in their first week" because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that repealing the health care bill would add $230 billion to the deficit over 10 years.
CBS's Katie Couric called it "new ammunition" for Democrats on Jan 6, 2011, and on the network news that proved to be the case.
That "ammunition" used to portray the GOP as fiscal hypocrites has also been criticized as "nonsense," not that you'd know it from the network news media.