On Monday, MSNBC was already working hard to make sure Republicans would be solely to blame for any possible government shutdown at the end of the week and proclaiming that Democrats “fed up” with the GOP were ready to “draw a line” on maintaining the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
During their appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Mary Bruce and Cecilia Vega, the network’s Congressional and White House correspondents respectively, built narratives using Democratic talking points designed to place the blame for a failed immigration deal and possible government shutdown solely on the Republicans.
You don’t see that very often. The journalists at CBS This Morning on Thursday grilled socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, hitting the progressive over hypocrisy relating to a possible government shutdown. On the issue of Sanders and Al Franken, the co-hosts called him out on his flip flopping.
Where would we be without the efforts of government spending? At least $20 trillion less in debt, but that never seems to occur to the more left-leaning politicians. Meanwhile, CBS’s Madam Secretary takes the time to remind the viewers about how necessary everyone and everything employed by the government can be.
It’s always fascinating to see media outlets give completely opposite takes on the exact same issue, depending on who’s in the Oval Office. The New York Times did just that today in another display of hypocrisy, typical of the left-wing paper. Like the networks, The Times is blaming the looming government shutdown on President Trump, but in 2013 when President Obama was in office and facing a government shutdown, the paper laid blame solely on Republicans instead of the sitting president.
Who can forget when the media spent endless days of outrage hyperventilating that Republicans would “shutdown the government” in 2013? Well the media had quite the opposite reaction Monday when Democrats threatened to do the same thing, not even two months into Trump’s presidency.
Print, broadcast or web, the media sure aren’t Nostradamus. In spite of their best attempts, the news media have gotten it wrong prediction after prediction on a wide range of business and economic issues in 2013.
Just in the past year, reporters warned of “economic doomsday,” thought Healthcare.gov was going to be “easy” just like Amazon.com, and warned of melting polar ice, even as a new record was set for ice mass.
Leading off Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared: "It's war. A private battle blows wide open in public as the most powerful Republican in Washington says he's had enough, coming out swinging against members of his own party." Moments later, he hailed House Speaker John Boehner's "rare outburst of candor mixed with anger and frustration" at conservatives critical of the new budget deal in Congress. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams contemptuously observed: "His problem has been the rise of the Tea Party faction, the newly arrived and highly motivated members who do not go along or get along with the wishes of the leadership....Now they've gone after a budget deal that represents real compromise and keeps the country running. The Speaker today decided he's had enough and he said so."
The news media worried a lot about how awful the government shutdown would be and estimated it would take a huge toll on the economy as well. Now it looks like they were wrong about the size of the damage.
The networks touted a recent Standard & Poor’s (S&P) estimate that the shutdown would cost $24 billion. That figure was mentioned on the networks five times from Oct. 17 to Oct. 24. But according to new figures from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the economic toll was one-fourth that size or less: between $2 billion and $6 billion. The OMB estimate was only mentioned in one Nov. 8 story on CBS, according to a Nexis search from Nov. 7 through Nov. 10.
The October government shutdown was based on Republican opposition to ObamaCare. But ABC, CBS and NBC barely covered that issue during the 15-day shutdown – devoting on average slightly more than 1 minute on all three networks combined each day. However, after the shutdown ended leaving ObamaCare funding uncontested, the evening news shows spent 4 times as much time on the flaws of the failing health insurance initiative.
As the ObamaCare rollout began Oct. 1, Republicans called for Congress to discuss making changes to the law. Democrats refused, so the government came to an impasse and a partial shutdown occurred. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, insisted that fighting the health insurance plan was at the heart of the GOP strategy. “I opposed the shutdown from day one. I think it was wrong that President Obama and Harry Reid forced the shutdown. They forced the shutdown because they wouldn’t compromise on ObamaCare,” he said Oct.11.
After NBC warned viewers that the partial government shutdown that ended weeks ago may be "the Grinch that stole Christmas," on Tuesday's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk fretted that Thanksgiving would be ruined as well: "Macy's, the company that sponsors the Thanksgiving Day Parade, will open its doors on the holiday for the first time in 155 years....But there is a risk, the identity of one of the country's most cherished holidays may be in jeopardy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite co-host Matt Lauer noting moments earlier that the trend of Black Friday creeping into Thanksgiving had been happening "for years," Gosk laid blame on October's temporary shutdown: "Retailers are facing a tough reality. The government shutdown slowed down the economy and took a serious toll on consumer confidence. A recent poll showed that just over half of shoppers say they will spend less than last year this Christmas season."
For almost a month the mainstream media have declared the Tea Party dead - are you listening, E.J. Dionne? - as a result of the government shutdown.
However, a new Rasmussen poll finds that an equal number of Americans identify with the Tea Party's views as do Obama's: