When Will the Press Wake Up and Blame Republicans?

When Will the Press Wake Up and Blame Republicans?

When Will the Press Wake Up and Blame Republicans?

The cult of objectivity requires Beltway journalists to ignore the GOP’s culpability in creating this artificial crisis.


This, via Politico’s Playbook, is the new Republican spin:

Steven Law, president of Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads: “Our economy really is hanging by a thread, and Republicans must stop President Obama’s reckless scheme to raise taxes in the middle of a jobs recession. The fact that Obama is willing to hold our country’s fiscal stability hostage over more taxes shows how ideologically committed he is to expanding government regardless of the economic cost.”

Of course, It’s no surprise that the president of a conservative political action committee would repeat the fiction that President Obama is somehow responsible for the brinksmanship on display in negotiations over the debt limit. What’s disappointing is the extent to which this lie has wormed its way into mainstream journalism and opinion writing. Yesterday, for example, David Brooks bemoaned Obama’s tone, blaming his press conference last week for any recent intransigence by House Republicans. Likewise, headlines at MSNBC, CNN and the Washington Post—“Boehner, Reid Appear to Give Ground”—imply a parity of intransigence, as if both Republicans and Democrats refused to compromise on their priorities.

Of course, the literal opposite is true. It’s the Republican Party that broke from decades of precedent in order to use the debt ceiling as leverage for right-wing policies, and it’s Republican leaders who pledged—from the beginning—to take this to the brink unless Democrats capitulated to their demands. Here, for example, is what House Speaker John Boehner said several months ago in an address to the Economic Club of New York:

“Without significant spending cuts and changes to the way we spend the American people’s money, there will be no debt limit increase,” Mr. Boehner told members of New York’s business and finance community. “And cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given.” Mr. Boehner said those cuts should be in the trillions of dollars, not billions.

After a month where Democrats have repeatedly given into Republican demands—even going as far as to raise the Medicare eligibility age as part of a deal—is too much for the press to say that this is a crisis of GOP’s making?

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