ABC Salivates Over ‘Mutiny’ Against Anti-Tax Pledge That’s Been ‘Obstacle to Raising Taxes,’ Hail New ‘Flexibility’

ABC anchor Diane Sawyer and correspondent Jonathan Karl on Monday night salivated over Republicans breaking Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. “We did see a sign the paralysis may be ending,” Sawyer relayed over “Tax Revolt?” on screen, touting “a Republican mutiny against a man who had convinced them to take a pledge.” She soon trumpeted the “new sign of flexibility.”

As if that’s a bad thing, Jonathan Karl fretted “the pledge is the biggest obstacle to any deal that would raise taxes.” But he saw hope ahead in how “with a budget crisis on the horizon and a re-elected President insisting on tax increases, some Republicans are now thinking the unthinkable: Ditching the pledge.”

Karl noted that “virtually every Republican in the past signed it,” yet, he championed, “nearly a third of the House Republicans refused to sign it this time.” Republicans “ditching the pledge,” he insisted, “could be a big step towards a deal with the President. He then trumpeted how “tonight...another Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski, tells ABC News that she too would be willing to break the pledge...”

Sawyer set up the Monday, November 26 World News segment by regretting an impending tax hike for all -- before she pivoted to the up side of raising taxes:

And now the looming threat to every American family budget. Look at this: The countdown on, 36 days until the nation goes over that fiscal cliff. A tax hike for everyone on New Year’s Day unless lawmakers end their long gridlock and today we did see a sign the paralysis may be ending. A Republican mutiny against a man who had convinced them to take a pledge. ABC’s Jonathan Karl on the big picture from Washington tonight.

Karl began:

It’s been an article of Republican faith for decades, no tax increases of any kind, period. Behind it all, this man, Grover Norquist, considered one of the most powerful men in Washington. Since he worked for Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, he’s gotten virtually every Republican to sign a pledge promising no tax increases. They sign it to help get elected and don’t violate it for fear of getting hammered for breaking their word.

After a brief conversation with Norquist aboutt the thousands signed and a look at House Speaker John Boehner’s pledge form, Karl let Norquist make the point that – like marriages and mortgages – the commitment does not expire.

Karl continued:

The pledge is the biggest obstacle to any deal that would raise taxes, but with a budget crisis on the horizon and a re-elected President insisting on tax increases, some Republicans are now thinking the unthinkable: Ditching the pledge.

Viewers then saw a montage of clips from Senators Lindsey Graham and Bob Corker followed by Republican Congressman Peter King.

Karl picked up:

And while virtually every Republican in the past signed it, nearly a third of the House Republicans refused to sign it this time. Republicans ditching the pledge could be a big step towards a deal with the President and tonight, Diane, another Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski, tells ABC News that she too would be willing to break the pledge in exchange for spending cuts.

Sawyer wondered: “Alright, If this is a new sign of flexibility, Jon, when are you looking to see for sure if there is going to be a deal?”

Earlier, from Kyle Drennen: “NBC Eager to See Republicans ‘Peeling Off’ from Tax Pledge, Pressures Rest of GOP to Do the Same”

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center