Apr
08
2011

Paul Ryan, Serious Numbers Geek (Aside From His Fuzzy Numbers)

The uncritical coverage of Paul Ryan's budget plan continues.In the new issue of Time magazine,Michael Crowley and Jay Newton-Smalltell us that Ryan is "the new face of federal frugality":

Just 41 years old, with jet black hair and a touch of Eagle Scout to him, the House Budget Committee chairman unveiled an ambitious package of huge budget cuts designed to dig the country out of its crippling debt crisis. For Ryan, reining in spending is nothing less than an act of patriotic valor.

Valor. Eagle Scout. Great hair!

Ryan'scritics have notedthat his plan actually does very little about the "crippling debt crisis." Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo reports that the Congressional Budget Office's score of the plan"finds that by the end of the 10-year budget window, public debt will actually be higher than it would be if the GOP just did nothing."

The Time reportersadd:

He may be a modern political star, but there's still something a little old-fashioned about Ryan, right down to his crow's-beak nose. Maybe it's the premature seriousness that comes from finding your father dead of a heart attack when you were 16 and then helping to care for a grandmother with Alzheimer's disease.

Now a married father of three, Ryan is a PowerPoint fanatic with an almost unsettling fluency in the fine print of massive budget documents. "I love the field of economics," Ryan says. "I have a knack for numbers. And I've just delved into this issue for my adult life, basically."

Deep into the piece, after these tributes to Ryan's wonkery, comes this parenthetical:

(He's also been criticized for peddling fuzzy math and rosy projections. A Washington Post factcheck deemed his budget full of "dubious assertions, questionable assumptions and fishy figures.")


Huh. I thought he had "an almost unsettling fluency in the fine print of massive budget documents"?

By placing the factcheck sodeep into the piece,and in parentheses, Time isall but saying that it doesn'tmatter what the facts are about Paul Ryan's plan. What's more important is that he's a patriotic number-cruncher.

With great hair!

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.