Howard Kurtz: Media Giving Republicans a Pass for Blocking Deficit Deal

As you've watched and read media reports concerning the debt ceiling, have you gotten the feeling the press have given Republicans a pass for standing strong in their pledge to not raise taxes?

CNN's Howard Kurtz thinks they have, and said so quite often on Sunday's "Reliable Sources" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

HOWARD KURTZ: Katrina vanden Heuvel, here’s David Brooks saying, “Republicans are not a normal Party.” Have most in the media been unwilling to point a finger and say the Republicans are largely responsible for blocking any deal here?

That's some question to ask the editor and publisher of The Nation, America's most left-leaning major magazine.

Of course, there's no need to bother sharing her answer. Care to guess what it was?

Next, Kurtz pushed this line of thinking further with Newt Gingrich's former press secretary Tony Blankley:

KURTZ: Tony Blankley, I’m not taking sides here. The Republicans have their standing on principle, but journalists could easily write that by saying we’ll negotiate anything except tax increases, which is of course half of the debate, Republicans are blocking progress toward a deal.

Does Kurtz actually think they haven't been doing that? It was CNN contributor Donna Brazile's entire point on Sunday's "This Week."

The Associated Press made a similar case in its piece about the stalled negotiations Saturday evening, as did Mike Barnicle on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday, the New York Times editorial board Friday, the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson Thursday, and NBC's David Gregory Thursday.

For the past several weeks, virtually every media outlet has been incessantly blaming the lack of a deal on the Republicans and demanding they give in to tax hikes. Exactly what world has Kurtz been living in that he's missed this?

Quite cluelessly, he continued pressing this absurd position with his guests:

KURTZ: But on that point, Katrina, the Democrats have their own sacred cows. Medicare is one of them. It’s a great issue for the Democratic Party. But, President Obama has put nearly $500 billion in Medicare cuts on the table saying the Republicans should now give something on revenue. But, again, I don’t see the press, I think the press is so worried about appearing to take sides that they don’t want to say, “Well, the Democrats took another step here, and Republicans, and look Boehner is under a lot of pressure from his caucus, are still digging in.”

"The press is so worried about appearing to take sides?" Not that that's what they're doing, but isn't it supposed to be?

Kurtz - who claims to be a media analyst - is now complaining that the press are worried about taking sides. Look at the chyron that was at the bottom of the screen during most of this segment:

GIVING REPUBLICANS A PASS? Media neutral on debt crisis

Horrors! The media were neutral on a subject rather than taking sides!

I guess that should have given his viewers all they needed to know about which side he was on concerning raising taxes.

Maybe he was trying in one segment to compensate for this supposed "neutrality," which is a heck of a position for a media analyst.

Better for Kurtz to stop watching the press for a week and study the Historical Budgets of the United States in order to get a rudimentary understanding of why America is at this juncture.

Since the Democrats took over Congress in 2007, spending has risen by $1.1 trillion or 41 percent. If we spent this year what we did in fiscal 2007, we'd only have a $160 billion deficit, which just so happens to be what the deficit was in the last budget created by Republicans and signed by George W. Bush.

Even if spending had increased at the rate of inflation since 2007, today's deficit would only be $370 billion and we wouldn't be anywhere near the debt ceiling.

As such, this matter isn't about tax receipts, tax rates, or tax loopholes. We've gotten ourselves into this crisis with reckless spending, and the only solution is to reduce it.

Maybe if Kurtz was better informed about our historical budgets, he would be complaining that the media are devoting way too much time pushing for tax hikes and not enough time demanding more spending cuts.

A conservative can dream, can't he?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.