Saturday, October 16, 2010


The right has 24/7 talk radio and 24/7 Fox. Liberals have, well, a couple of prime-time hours on MSNBC and a few prominent op-ed columnists. Ah, but what about every outlet of the "lamestream media"? Well, this is what you get from those outlets: a desperate straining to be "fair." See, for instance, Peter Baker's article in tody's New York Times, which splits hair after hair in an attempt to find factual flaws in White House rhetoric:

In speech after speech lately, President Obama has vowed to oppose a Republican proposal "to cut education by 20 percent," a reduction that would "eliminate 200,000 children from Head Start programs" and "reduce financial aid for eight million college students."

Except that strictly speaking, the Republicans have made no such proposal. The expansive but vague Pledge to America produced by House Republicans does promise deep cuts in domestic spending, but it gives no further detail about which programs would be slashed. So Mr. Obama has filled in his own details as if they were in the Republican plan.

Wow -- sounds kinds sneaky. Except, as Baker explains -- many paragraphs in -- it isn't really:

The Republican pledge promises to return overall spending on domestic programs to 2008 levels, which would mean cutting roughly $100 billion a year. But the pledge does not say which programs would be cut to achieve that; all it does is specify that no cuts would be made to national security programs, entitlement payments like Medicare, or interest on the national debt.

That means, the White House said, that the $100 billion cut would amount to a 20 percent reduction in domestic programs, so it is fair to extrapolate the effects on education, Head Start, college aid and other programs. Republicans said they could choose to cut more deeply in some programs while sparing others, so education would not necessarily be cut 20 percent. At the same time, they do not rule it out.

Aides to Mr. Obama said Republicans have been inconsistent on the issue, pointing to comments by some party leaders characterizing the cuts as "across the board," implying that the party would not discriminate among programs....

So the Republicans do want big cuts. And among the few areas they haven't exempted is education. And the overall cuts would be about 20 percent. And some Republicans have used the phrase "across the board."

But still that sneaky bastard Obama is trying to deceive you:

... While Mr. Obama's general points about the scale of Republican spending cuts and fiscal effects of high-end tax cuts have a solid factual basis, some independent organizations that examine political statements, like PolitiFact and, have questioned the veracity of some specific claims on economic policy and other topics.

And Obama's tax talk is sleazy, too:

Most of the disputed statements concern the Pledge to America, the House Republican campaign manifesto. "The centerpiece of the pledge is a $700 billion tax cut that would only go to the top 2 percent, the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans," Mr. Obama said in Philadelphia. "Ninety-eight percent of you would not get this tax cut." ...

"We want to stop a tax hike that would hit every American taxpayer," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for the House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner. "So, that 98 percent figure is bogus."

Now, it seems to me that since the Obama administration agrees with Republicans that the tax break on lower-income people should be extended, then it's the people who say that lower-income people are facing a tax hike who are engaged in sleazy lies. But what do I know? I'm just a schmuck blogger. Peter Baker is clearly smarter than I am, and so he thinks this belongs in a story about how Obama tweaks the truth.

I could go on, but you see the point. The conservative press is partisan. The "liberal" press is "fair." And this is what you get.

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