In picking Mark Whitaker, Washington Bureau Chief for NBC News, as its new Executive Vice President and Managing Editor (TVNewser post), CNN has selected someone with a liberal outlook who presumes not raising taxes can be blamed for an increase in the deficit.
On election night last year, Whitaker channeled a liberal argument in favor of hiking taxes, declaring during live NBC News coverage: “The fact is right now the Republican numbers do not add up” since House Republicans want to roll back “spending to 2008 levels, which gets you about a $100 billion, but extending all the tax cuts. And the Congressional Budget Office has said that ends up adding $270 billion, at least, to the deficit.”
Earlier last year, in the midst of the Andrew Breitbart/Shirley Sherrod kerfuffle, Whitaker fretted on the NBC Nightly News over lies on the Internet:
Mark Twain said, a century ago, that a lie can get make its way half way around the world before the truth has its shoes on. That's just been intensified, both in term of the viral nature of these stories, but also, as we've seen, the potential to edit them and distort them before they get out there.
Before jumping to NBC News, Whitaker was the top editor at Newsweek from 1998 to 2006, where he was forced to retract a report in the magazine (a “lie”?) that a Koran was flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo, though he buried his mea culpa, as recounted in a 2005 MRC CyberAlert item:
Newsweek may have admitted Sunday that its sloppy reporting, about how a U.S. soldier at Guantanamo Bay flushed a Koran down a toilet, led to riots in Afghanistan which killed at least 15 people, but they hardly made their concession prominent in the May 23 edition of the magazine, especially online where, on the magazine's home page, you'd have to guess that this headline, "The Islamic World: How a Fire Broke Out," had something to do with a retraction.
And to read Editor Mark Whitaker's message, you'd have to know to click on "Letters and Live Talk" in a left side column, then, under "More," choose "The Editors' Desk." And even then, whether online or in the hard copy, Whitaker didn't approach an apology until the last sentence of his last paragraph: "We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst."
From the 1:00 AM EST hour on election night/Wednesday morning November 3, 2010:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: We've heard guest after guest tonight, and winner after winner, saying we're going to go to Washington and cut spending. What's the problem with that?
MARK WHITAKER: Well, you know, we've been talking about the role of independents and independents, after the economy and after jobs, the thing that they really care about is the deficit and debt and the fact is right now the Republican numbers do not add up on this. The Pledge to America that Boehner and the Young Guns ran on basically calls for rolling back spending to 2008 levels, which gets you about a $100 billion, but extending all the tax cuts. And the Congressional Budget Office has said that ends up adding $270 billion, at least, to the deficit.
So, I think what we're going to see, starting with the press conference tomorrow that President Obama's going to give, is challenging the Republicans to say what are you going cut not only in terms of programs, but what else are you going to put on the table? Are you cutting further than you're talking about? Are you talking about Social Security? Are you talking about Medicare? Put the ball in their court and I think that's where the battle begins.
— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.