All three network morning shows on Wednesday cheered House Republicans giving up on trying to attach conditions to raising the nation's borrowing limit. On NBC's Today, news reader Natalie Morales proclaimed: "America is one step closer to being able to pay its bills next month." None of the coverage acknowledged that the move actually meant adding to the nation's massive $17 trillion debt without making any effort to reduce government spending. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos touted "some good news coming out of Washington" as the "debt limit finally passed without real controversy." White House correspondent Jon Karl gushed: "Yeah, this was a really big deal. Republicans completely backed down on this. No strings attached, did exactly what President Obama asked them to do..." Stephanopoulos added: "First time in three years."
On CBS This Morning, Capitol Hill correspondent Nancy Cordes declared:
Normally this is such a bitter fight, but this time the House Speaker allowed this vote to raise the debt ceiling, no strings attached, two weeks before the deadline. Before the markets even had a chance to get nervous. It's a sign that he is now less willing to fight what he sees as losing battles on behalf of the Tea Party wing of his party.
While the NBC and ABC morning shows gave mere seconds to the development, CBS actually provided a full two-minute report that included Republican sound bites. Cordes even briefly mentioned one of the policies the GOP hoped to push in a debt ceiling deal: "Boehner had tried to attach some Republican priorities to the debt ceiling bill, like approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline."
She then proceeded to blame the right for the failure to reach that deal: "But conservatives, including Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, signaled none of it was enough to win their support for raising a borrowing limit they think is already too high."
Talking to Huelskamp, Cordes pressed: "Speaker [Boehner] says members like you left him no choice because there's almost nothing that he can put forward that will get your vote."
She noted that "conservative groups were furious about Boehner's move" and how Boehner "has been very frank that what those groups and some of his own members want is simply unrealistic in a divided government and he was not eager to engage in another damaging showdown with Democrats."
The segment concluded with a sound bite of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gloating: "I'm very happy to see that the House is legislating the way they should have been legislating for a long, long time."
On Tuesday evening, ABC's World News hailed the debt ceiling "breakthrough" while still avoiding any mention of the nation's growing debt.
Similarly, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley offered a news brief on how a "showdown was avoided" and noted that "Battles over the so-called debt limit last year threatened the nation's credit rating."
NBC Nightly News made no mention of the topic.