Liberal media members opposed to President Obama's tax cut compromise plan have been making the case that it's hypocritical of the Tea Party not to be universally against the measure given its impact on the deficit.
After Ed Schultz and Bill Press not surprisingly took this view on Monday's "Ed Show," Michael Medved gave them both a much-needed education on the subject (video follows with transcript and commentary):
One of the press's longest campaigns to systematically obfuscate the truth about a specific government program is the one that has protected Social Security from reasonable scrutiny for most of the 75 years of its existence.
The Associated Press's Stephen Ohlemacher did his part to continue the misdirection in his coverage of the possible effects of the payroll tax cut President Obama and congressional Republicans have proposed.
To Mr. Ohlemacher, the Social Security system has this huge, "guaranteed" trust fund. I can almost stop there, but readers should buck up and see the following excerpt as an object example of the falsehoods fed to the public for so many years (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The award for Best Line of the Weekend goes to Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot who on Sunday's "Meet the Press" offered a delicious irony concerning Friday's surprise press conference hosted by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
"I love the symbolism of two Democratic presidents--not one, but two--endorsing Bush tax cuts, saying, 'We need them crucially to help the economy' (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A New York Times "Learning Network" graphic informs us that under the proposed Obama-GOP tax and spending compromise, "rates will not change for at least two years for anyone."
Wow. Somebody at the Learning Network needs to tell the Old Gray Lady's beat reporters, editorial board, and opinion columnists. Just today, reporter Helene Cooper, in noting how Vice President Joe Biden is playing a "bigger role" in the administration (translation: picking up the pieces from President Obama's disastrous ongoing alienation of anyone and everyone, friend and foe alike), twice refers to the compromise as involving "tax cuts." Cooper's defenders may claim that the Times reporter is partially referring to the proposed one-year reduction in the Social Security payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2%, but that's not a contentious issue at the moment (though given how broke the Social Security really is, it should be). Federal income tax rates for 2011 and beyond are.
Anyway, as far as the Learning Network is concerned, so far, so good. But then it commits its own unforced error:
Who Benefits? All taxpayers, but especially high-income households, which had faced a new, higher rate.
How can you cover a story about Uncle Sam's November Monthly Treasury Statement and the proposed Obama-GOP compromise on taxes and unemployment benefits without using the words "spending," "receipts," any form of "collect," or "unemployment"? It's a neat trick, but the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger pulled it off in his Friday afternoon dispatch shortly after the government report's release.
Instead of communicating apparently boring facts, Crutsinger concentrated his fire on the "tax-cut agreement" with a supposed "cost (of) $855 billion over two years" worked out by President Obama and Congressional Republicans. In doing so, he "somehow" failed to mention that the proposal includes a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.
Based on a comparison to this detailed analysis at the Hill, which reported yesterday that the proposal's "cost" is really $857 billion over 10 years, Crutsinger's two-year, $855 billion "cost" assertion, which does not include a detailed breakdown, appears to be wildly inaccurate.
Charles Krauthammer on Friday scolded Mark Shields and other liberals for "moaning and bitching" about the President's compromise tax plan after months of demanding the White House implement a second stimulus package.
After Shields on PBS's "Inside Washington" predictably criticized Obama for agreeing to extend the Bush tax cuts on the so-called rich, Krauthammer marvelously struck back (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Jami "Sarah Palin is an extraordinary ass" Floyd made her best pitch for an Obama White House gig this morning, charting a course for the president's rehabilitation before the 2012 election and chastising the Republicans's "Bah! Humbug!" tax compromise.
Chris Jansing, anchor of MSNBC's "Jansing & Co.," asked Floyd to assess the argument some Democrats are making that the president should have used his congressional majorities to muscle through a tax package that would have placated liberals. In her response, Floyd took off her analyst hat and strategized as a partisan Democrat.
"We should have unified around our president," insisted Floyd, a former ABC News correspondent. "Woulda, shoulda, coulda. But now we stand where we stand and the question is what do we do going forward? Do we make this deal? Do we strike this deal now? Or do we let it fall apart and then have less to worth with when we come back?"
After not-so-subtly admitting that she has a vested interest in Obama's political rehabilitation, Floyd, a former Clinton adviser, demonstrated that she could just as effortlessly shill for the current administration.
On Friday, all three network morning shows expressed sympathy for protestors in London rioting against college tuition increases, despite a Thursday attack on the royal family. While CBS's Early Show, ABC's Good Morning America, and NBC's Today all reported on security concerns over Prince Charles and wife Camilla, each broadcast also lamented Britain's "drastic new budget cuts."
At the top of the Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "There have been these protesters in London for a couple weeks now because tuition hikes for college tuition skyrocketing there." Fill-in co-host Rebecca Jarvis then chimed in by arguing on behalf of the rioters: "Of course they pay very high taxes there so they expect something for those taxes." Later, in an 8:00AM ET hour news brief, anchor Jeff Glor pointed out: "In the last fiscal year, the government spent $60 million on household costs for the royals....But, the government still voted to triple university tuition to $14,000 a year to help control the deficit."
Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday surprisingly exposed how ignorant liberals are of the tax code.
In a sometimes heated discussion with prominent progressives about President Obama's new compromise tax plan, "The Last Word" host aggressively challenged the knowledge of two of his guests (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MSNBC's Chuck Todd on the December 7 "Daily Rundown" was uncharacteristically heated in his opposition to the compromise between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans on extending the Bush tax rates.
Interviewing a Treasury Department official, Todd used flawed statistics to malign the proposed two-year extension of tax breaks for all families as unacceptably expensive.
"The cost of this is astronomical though," proclaimed the NBC Political Director. "The payroll tax cut means essentially borrowing from the Social Security trust fund to do this temporary payroll tax. I mean, it's 120 billion, that's a lot of money!"
Brian Williams adopted a liberal framework as he opened Monday's NBC Nightly News by declaring “it’s a fair question to ask and for a while now Americans have been wondering how lawmakers in Washington could possibly extend tax breaks for wealthy Americans while allowing benefits for jobless Americans to be cut off.”
Then, after Chuck Todd outlined the Obama-GOP compromise to maintain income taxes at their current rates for two years while extending unemployment benefits and implementing a temporary reduction in the payroll tax, Williams fretted the deal contradicts how “the fight has been over anything in government that isn't paid for,” yet, as Todd despaired in filling in Williams’ regret, “none of this is paid for. In terms of lost revenue for the government next year, it's $450 billion.”
The Washington Post's Robert J. Samuelson in his Monday column scolded President Obama's deficit commission in a fashion that should be must-reading for every American, especially liberal media members.
At issue for Samuelson wasn't the cost-saving or revenue-generating ideas in the plan. Instead, he accurately pointed out that it lacked a coherent message as to why our social programs are not a right to every American at birth, and that it is not immoral for government to withdraw or lessen benefits as it sees fit:
Charles Krauthammer on Monday said that when Barack Obama spoke to the nation hours ago to announce a tax extension compromise just reached with Republicans, "It was actually a speech addressed at Daily Kos, the New York Times, and MoveOn."
In Krauthammer's view expressed on Fox's "Special Report," "This was a speech aimed at appeasing the Left which is extremely angry over this" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It appears that President Obama is about to approve the extension of the Bush tax cuts and this has sent liberals into a frenzy. How to explain it? Well, Frank Rich of the New York Times has a very creative explanation: a weak Barack Obama has been spiritually kidnapped by Republicans and is now suffering from Stockholm Syndrome which allows him to sympathize with his captors. Here is Rich explaining it in "All the President's Captors" at his entertaining best:
During a discussion of the agreement to prevent tax rates from increasing in January, on ABC’s World News Sunday, anchor David Muir and ABC’s senior Washington correspondent Rick Klein fretted that the federal budget deficit would increase - against the wishes of the voters - as a result of both the blocking of a tax increase and the extension of unemployment benefits. But neither acknowledged that raising taxes could depress the economy and cause tax revenue losses. After a full report had run that recounted the agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts, Muir conveyed his belief that the plan contradicts voter concerns about the deficit during his discussion with Klein. Muir:
And, Rick, quickly, this comes after voters in the midterms seemed so concerned about government spending and the deficit, and yet, we’re hearing now about tax cuts and more spending for the benefits.
Klein warned that "everything that Congress is set to do is going to make" the budget deficit and national debt problems "even worse," and complained about less revenue being collected when "you’re cutting taxes." Klein:
New York magazine's John Heilemann said this weekend that President Obama is the only serious adult in the deficit reduction conversation now going on in Washington.
This deliciously came seconds before Heilemann told other guests on the syndicated "Chris Matthews Show," "I have been dispirited by the lack of strategy on the part of the White House since the midterm elections...specifically on this [issue]" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Wednesday evening hit presidential deficit commission co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles from the left, the New York Times left. Without ever raising conservative criticism of proposals to raise taxes, Williams charged:
It seems to me there's two arguments. There's what you're trying to accomplish and then there's how you're trying to accomplish, and there are, as you know, critics of what you're trying to do. James K. Galbraith writes in the New York Times, “Bowles-Simpson proposal is an assault on the middle class, the working class and the poor.”
This wasn’t the first time Williams has cited a left-wing New York Times op-ed or columnist for what he considered sage wisdom.
There are times when one has to think the Manhattan building that is the home of the New York Times doesn't have any windows, doesn't have any television sets, and doesn't have any doors that allow employees to venture out and actually see what's happening in America beyond the walls of 620 Eighth Avenue.
Consider that after the impact the Tea Party has had on our nation's politics the past 20 months, and the historic elections that just took place on November 2, Times columnist Tom Friedman actually thinks Americans aren't interested in reducing the federal deficit but are instead yearning for higher taxes and greater government spending:
With all but one of the House races now resolved, Republicans have picked up at least 63 seats, the most in a midterm election since 1938. So, it might be fun on this Thanksgiving Day to recall how, just 18 months ago, Time's Michael Grunwald was arguing in a big cover story that demography and its "extremely conservative" philosophy meant the Republican Party could be on the verge of extinction.
Back in May 2009, Newsbusters Brent Baker picked up on Grunwald's piece for the ridiculous way he painted the GOP as extremist:
They are extremely conservative ideas tarred by association with the extremely unpopular George W. Bush, who helped downsize the party to its extremely conservative base.
But re-reading the piece today, it's even more striking how Grunwald's "analysis" was based on liberal wishful thinking that small government conservative policies were like political arsenic, and how Republicans had to drop tax cuts and cultural conservatism if they ever hoped to come back from the wilderness.
In other words, move left. But the GOP instead moved right, and was rewarded by voters. Which is why conservatives should probably not take strategic advice from their ideological adversaries in the media.
The seemingly endless variety of "name that party" stunts has yet another wrinkle.
In this case, Matt Drudge is currently linking to a Des Moines Register story ("Culver OKs state pay raises"; also saved here at host for future reference) about how outgoing Iowa Governor Chet Culver has decided to rush through union contracts granting thousands of state employees 3% raises (before considering "step" raises that occur with seniority) in each of the next two years before Republican Governor Terry Bransted takes over in January.
The headline for Drudge's link is "Lame duck Dem governor in Iowa OKs $100 million in raises for state workers." Actually, it's $100 million a year for the next two years. But the linked Register article by Jason Clayworth never identifies Culver's Democratic Party affiliation, even though he tags the governor's opposition as Republican twice in the first two paragraphs. In other words, not that it was difficult to show that Culver is a Dem, but Drudge had to figure it out and tell his readers -- and we thank him for that.
Very unusually, CBS’s Katie Couric promised a look Thursday night at “how runaway government spending has exploded the national debt,” but between that segment and her show’s lead story, an “exclusive” interview with debt commission co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, Couric illustrated how she and the media are an impediment to rational spending decisions since they paint any decision to not spend more in terms of how that will hurt people. To wit, she despaired:
Also in Washington today, House Republicans blocked a further extension of jobless benefits set to expire on November 30th. If Congress doesn't act, two million Americans will stop receiving benefit checks during the holidays. That would be devastating to a place like Elkhart, Indiana. It had one of the nation's highest unemployment rates when Seth Doane first visited there two years ago and it is only now just starting to recover.
Deep in his empathetic piece, Doane noted: “These benefits can last up to 99 weeks. That's nearly three months longer than any time in U.S. history. They now cost the country nearly $224 billion a year.”
Yesterday the California Supreme Court ruled "that illegal immigrants are entitled to the same in-state tuition breaks that are offered to citizens who attend public colleges and universities."
The Associated Press reports that "[t]he high court unanimously upheld a state law that says any student, regardless of immigration status, who attended a California high school for at least three years can qualify for in-state tuition that's much less than what out-of-state students pay."
The losing party in the case plans an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, so this may not be the final word on the issue.
Given that the Golden State is flat broke and illegal immigration is a hot button issue nationally, this sounds like a story worthy of mainstream media attention.
Yet it appears the story has been largely ignored or buried by the MSM thus far.
As a Monday morning treat for NewsBusters readers, here is a sampling of the quotes from the latest edition of MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter, a compilation of the most outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. All of the quotes, plus past issues going back to 1988, can be found at www.MRC.org.
Forget What Voters Said, It’s Time for Higher Taxes
Host Christiane Amanpour: “There are many economists who simply say the math does not add up, if you’re not going to agree to raising taxes. Do you agree that taxes will have to be raised, as well?” Senator-elect Rand Paul: “Well, I think it’s not a revenue problem. It’s a spending problem.” Amanpour: “But it is a revenue problem according to so many economists.”
— ABC’s This Week, November 7.
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Krugman tries to clarify what he said.
Although he was likely taking a swipe at former governor Sarah Palin with the reference, Paul Krugman on Sunday recommended "death panels" as a means of helping to balance the federal budget.
In a Roundtable discussion on ABC's "This Week," the New York Times columnist said of what recently came out of the President's deficit commission, "Some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Glenn Beck has been a favorite punching bag for liberal media members since he moved from HLN to Fox News and started getting huge ratings.
The folks at NBC's "Saturday Night Live" have also been on this Beck bashing bandwagon, which made the following sequence during Saturday's opening sketch rather surprising (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Time Magazine is having some problems with very basic issues of logic. First, it doesn't seem to understand the difference between correlation and causation. The notion that debt is equal to income minus expenditures also eludes the folks at Time.
A blog post on the magazine's website on Wednesday alleged that the Tea Party will cause hyperinflation. If that seems counterintuitive, take comfort in knowing that the post had to ignore basic logic to reach that conclusion.
The article begins by trying to pass off correlation as causation:
According to Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos, a deficit commission suggesting deep cuts will call the "bluff" of voters who want to severely restrict government spending. The ABC host on Thursday dismissed the plausibility of the panel's recommendations.
Stephanopoulos condescendingly began, "A week after voters seemed to say that they wanted more aggressive action against the deficit, the chairmen of a presidential commission are calling their bluff." GMA featured two segments on the topic, but never once actually mentioned the deficit number, $1.3 trillion.
Reporter Jake Tapper featured Barack Obama's speech from South Korea in which the President attacked Republican campaign rhetoric on the debt: "And unfortunately, a lot of the talk didn't match up with reality." Left unmentioned was the Obama's own record spending.
Despite 9.6 percent unemployment nationally, with some areas of the country suffering far worse than that, the New York Times editorial board believes state governments must raise taxes to balance their budgets: