Stenographers at ABC: Obama Will Work to 'Pressure' and 'Shame' Congress on Cuts

ABC journalist Jon Karl continued his role as White House stenographer, Tuesday, repeating Barack Obama's talking points on the upcoming sequester cuts. Karl insisted that the President is "really trying to shame Congress into doing something to replace these cuts." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos asserted that Obama is going to "ratchet up the pressure on Congress." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

The Good Morning America segment featured Karl uncritically hyping the impact of the sequester cuts: "And the White House says that would mean hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs potentially at risk." Considering that the tiny cuts amount to $85 billion in a $16 trillion debt, some skepticism might have been warranted. 

Instead, Karl summarized GOP opposition this ways: "Republicans have said no tax increases and, really, they're not even negotiating right now."

The reporter added, "In fact, George, Congress is in recess for the next week." Of course, the President just returned from a vacation of golfing with Tiger Woods, something Karl did not point out.

Since being promoted to chief White House correspondent in 2012, Karl has frequently repeated Obama talking points. On January 15, he parroted, "President Obama used the last news conference of his first term to issue an ultimatum to congressional Republicans: Raise the debt ceiling." 

A transcript of the February 19 segment can be found below:


7:11am EST

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to go to the White House now, where President Obama will appear later this morning to warn against the next budget crisis that is coming fast. Automatic spending set to hit every government program in just ten days. ABC's Jon Karl is at the White House with more on what we expect to hear from the President. Good morning, Jon. He's going to ratchet up the pressure on Congress.

ABC GRAPHIC: Tax Cut Crisis: President Ups the Ante This Morning

JON KARL: He sure is. He's really trying to shame Congress into doing something to replace these cuts. And this morning, George, the President will be surrounded by emergency workers, firefighters, EMTs and others to say if that if these cuts go into effect in ten days, FEMA is going to be forced to cut grants to local and state governments for emergency workers and firefighters and other emergency workers will see their jobs on the line. The bigger picture, George, he'll warn that these cuts go into effect, it will hurt the economy at charge. And the White House says that would mean hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs potentially at risk.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jon, the President says he is willing to negotiate a deal that would include some spending cuts, but also some revenue increases. But the chance of that happening and the chances of actually avoiding these across-the-board cuts are dwindling to almost zero, right?

KARL: Uh, there's virtually no chance that they get averted in ten days. These cuts are almost certainly to go into effect. Republicans have said no tax increases and, really, they're not even negotiating right now. In fact, George, Congress is in recess for the next week.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh. And then another big one coming at the end of the month, when the whole government runs out of money. Okay, Jon Karl, thanks very much.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org