CNN'S Rick Sanchez's 'Brand-New Statistic' Is Four Years Old

On Tuesday's CNN Newsroom, anchor Rick Sanchez, who's increasingly mimicking MSNBC's Keith Olbermann's off-the-chart liberalism, took a swipe at several Republican governors:

First, let me try and set this up. You have heard the conversation on this newscast and on many other newscasts just a couple of weeks ago. There were many red state Southern governors who were on the record saying we're so angry about this stimulus package, we are so angry about the spending, that we don't want the money. We don't want the money in our states.

You heard that from people like Haley Barbour and Governor Sanford of South Carolina, to a certain extent, from Governor Jindal in Louisiana. What six states, I ask, that resisted the stimulus money are getting for what they're putting into the system now?

In other words, let me rephrase that. How much from every dollar that they get from the government are they giving back or receiving? We have got a brand-new statistic. I want to break this down for you. And these are the six states that we were talking about, six red states.

Let's go to that graphic, if we have it. We are going to start with Mississippi. Look at this. Look at this, all right? Mississippi gets $2.02. That's more than twice what they send to the federal government. In other words, they get twice as much as they put in. The people of Mississippi get more than they are taxed.

Louisiana gets $1.85, Alaska, Sarah Palin, $1.83. Remember, Louisiana was Bobby Jindal. Haley Barbour was the governor of Mississippi who said he was mad because the people of his state were getting cheated. South Carolina's Mark Sanford, his state? They get $1.35, follow me here, $1.35 for every dollar they put into the federal system. So, they're getting more than they're putting in. Idaho, same thing, $1.19. Texas just about breaks even, just an interesting statistic that we thought we would share with you, given the news items that have been coming out for the last week or so.

Sanchez didn't indicate the source of his chart statistics.  I believe I know why.  The data he presented identically match those gathered by the Northeast-Midwest Institute, which describes itself as a "research organization dedicated to economic vitality, environmental quality, and regional equity for Northeast and Midwest states."  The figures compiled by the Institute, and presented by Sanchez as "a brand-new statistic," represent data for Fiscal Year 2005.

Another flaw in Sanchez's presentation was ignoring that Louisiana's governor in FY 2005 was not incumbent Republican Bobby Jindal, but Democrat Kathleen Blanco.  Nor did he mention that some Democratic governors, including John Lynch of New Hampshire and Tennessee's Phil Bredesen, have indicated they may not accept some of the stimulus funding.

In the interest of balance, Sanchez could have pointed out that, according to the same source he used, Democratically-governed states such as New Mexico, West Virginia, and Virginia also received considerably more tax dollars from Washington than they sent.

The similarities between CNN's Sanchez and MSNBC's Olbermann are noteworthy.  On Olbermann's Tuesday, March 3 Countdown program, his three top stories were the ongoing Rush Limbaugh saga, the Republicans-are-hypocrites-on-earmarks claim, and the creation of "an independent Truth Commission on Bush‘s counter-terrorism policies."  On the second story, Olbermann cited "the nonpartisan group, Taxpayers for Common Sense."

The very next day, Sanchez also devoted time to each of those stories.  Doing Olbermann one better, he interviewed the president of the Taxpayers for Common Sense.

I recognize that news is news and cable networks often cover much of the same ground.  Still, I find the pattern remarkable, particularly as Sanchez assumes a more aggressively anti-GOP stance, even going so far as to trot out "brand-new" four-year-old statistics.  

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